"We have a tender for the acquisition of 18 new trains, mainly for the new lines that will be concluded in 2022/23. Our goal is to bring forward the rental and delivery of these new vehicles so that they may be operating on the Metro network by the end of 2021, increasing the number of seats on offer,” the president of Metro do Porto, Tiago Braga, said in a written response sent to Lusa.

He pointed out that, to respond to the increase in demand seen since the beginning of the year, the company has been operating with the all its available trains on working days since September.

"There were some breakdowns which, although slight and occasional, worry us and lead us to work on maintenance,” he noted.

According to Tiago Braga, Metro do Porto has carried six million more customers so far this year than the previous year.

The president of the company said that the increase in demandsince the beginning of 2019, became even more significant since April, when the PART (Support Programme for Tariff Reduction) started, the so-called single pass that reduced the price of monthly tickets for public transport.

The reduction in the price of monthly passes increased the difficulties for those who already used public transport in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, with the Metro and buses crowded at peak hours, several users told Lusa.

In June, Metro do Porto said that it was going to invite two of the competitors for a negotiation process to supply and maintain 18 new vehicles.

The same source said that the decision, regarding the public tender with a base value of €56.1 million, was taken after it was found that the bids submitted in April by three competitors contained errors that prevented the award.

This tender was launched to serve the new Pink lines, in Porto, and the extension of the Yellow line from Vila Nova de Gaia to Vila d' Este.

These new lines will add 6km and seven stations to the network, representing an overall investment of around €300 million.

Currently, Metro do Porto's fleet consists of 102 vehicles: 72 Eurotram-type and 30 Tram-train-type.

Metro do Porto operates in seven municipalities with a network of six lines, 67km and 82 stations, used by more than 62 million customers a year.