The 22.5km line from Quitumbe to El Labrador will have 15 stations with a commercial speed of 37km/h and a journey time of 34 minutes between the two termini. Ridership is expected to be around 369,000 passengers per day in the first year of operation.

Services will be operated by a fleet of 18 six-car trains, each formed of four motor cars and two trailers and capable of accommodating up to 1500 passengers. Electrification will be 1.5kV dc with rigid overhead catenary and the line will be manually operated.

The Phase 1 contract, which covers construction of El Labrador and La Magdalena stations, was awarded to Acciona, Spain, in 2012. The $US 1.54bn Phase 2 contract was awarded last year to a consortium of Acciona and Odebrecht, Brazil, and encompasses the construction of tunnels, 13 of stations, electrical and mechanical systems, and depot and stabling facilities. Construction is due to be completed in 2019.

The $US 2bn project is being funded by the Municipality of Quito (63%) and the Ecuadorian government (37%) with financing from international institutions including the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank (EIB).