Algerian Capital Inaugurates 6th Urban Ropeway

Post by Gondola Project

Bab El Oued – Z’ghara Cable Car. Image by El Biar Alger.

It didn’t take long before the first urban gondola of 2019 was inaugurated.

On January 2nd, the Algerian neighbourhoods of Bab El Oued, Celeste Village and Z’ghara in Algiers became the recipient of a new 2km, 3-station aerial ropeway.

Built with a maximum line speed of 5.5m/s, and sixty-six 10-person cabins, the system can transport up to 2,400 persons per hour per direction (pphpd). A trip on the monocable detachable gondola (MDG) will take 7 minutes and will operate 13 hours in the winter and 19 hours daily in the summer. A single fare has been priced at 30 DA (US$0.25) — that’s 20 DA less than a Metro ride.

Bab El Oued – Z’gahara Cable Car. Photo by El Biar Alger.

Bab El Oued – Z’gahara Cable Car. Photo by El Biar Alger.

Due likely to language barriers and its geographic location, Algeria and its capital, Algiers, is often an underrated player when it comes to Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems. To put it into perspective, the Bab El Oued – Z’ghara Cable Car is now the 6th urban ropeway constructed in Algiers! Arguably, only La Paz’s Mi Teleferico can claim that it has more operational ropeways in a city.

For those unfamiliar with Algiers, existing ropeway systems include the Madania Cable Car, Our Lady of Africa Cable Car, Memorial Cable Car, Palace of Culture Cable Car and the Bouzareah Oued-Koriche Cable Car.

All of these cable lifts are short, 2-station aerial trams except for the Bouzareh Oued-Koriche Cable Car which is a 2.9km, 3-station monocable. Perhaps even more impressive is that Algiers can be considered a pioneer in the industry as it first deployed an urban ropeway (Madania Cable Car) in 1956!

Reports indicate that the aerial lift will be managed and operated by the Algerian Cable Transport Company (ETAC).

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Colombian Capital Opens First Urban Gondola – TransMiCable

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TransMiCable was inaugurated on December 27, 2018. Image from IDU Bogota.

After more than two years of waiting, residents of the Ciudad Bolivar District in Bogota can finally rejoice as the City’s first urban gondola – TransMiCable – has started commercial operations.

First proposed by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, the project is the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and design. Initial tender contracts were signed in July 2015 and construction began in September 2016.

The 3.34km ropeway is built with four stations and is projected to benefit 700,000 residents living in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Officials hope that the 80,000 residents living within proximity to the cable car will choose the gondola as its number one mobility option. 

The US$73 million (COP 240 billion) system is expected to reduce travels by up to 50 minutes. Previously, commuters spent up to 1 hour travelling on congested buses and winding roads but the cable car will cut journey times to just 13 minutes! As the cable car is directly linked to the city’s famous BRT system, the TransMilenio, passengers can transfer from the Portal of the Tunnel station and travel with ease into the city center. 

With a capacity of 3,600 pphpd, the TransMiCable is built with one of the highest capacities for an urban gondola. Compared to other commuter ropeways, only the Purple Line and the Blue Line Sky in La Paz, Bolivia have a larger capacity at 4,000 pphpd. The system has 163 10-person cabins built with folding seats. This allows passengers to easily bring in baby strollers, bicycles and wheelchairs. The cabins also have solar panels, which help power security cameras and telecommunication systems.

The cable car offered free rides for two days before beginning commercial operations on December 29, 2018. Image by Kienyke.

The cable car will operate for nearly 18 hours per day from 4:30am to 10:00pm between Mondays – Saturday and 5:30am – 9:30pm on Sundays/Hoildays. Image by IDIPRON.

Not so dissimilar to the other urban gondolas in Latin America, the cable lift has been constructed as part of a larger social redevelopment project. Stations are not merely utilitarian stations built for transport, rather they are designed with gardens, parks, public squares and libraries.

To be able to integrate the system into the daily life of the locals, the project spent a considerable amount of time educating residents about the benefits of the cable car. Officials reached out to a more than 19,000 students as part of large-scale stakeholder engagement sessions.

Priced at only US $0.70 (COP 2300) — the same cost as a TransMilenio ticket — the system is meant to be affordable to all users. Transfers between the bus system and the cable car will be free except for riders transferring from a zone blue line. To make the system even more accessible, users with the Tullave smart card are eligible for even more discounts.

Overall, the TransMiCable builds on the success of the other urban ropeways in Colombia and Latin America. Domestically, Bogota becomes the fourth Colombian city to construct an urban gondola after Cali, Manizales and Medellin. Within Latin America, TransMiCable is now the 23rd line in the region!

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La Paz’s Brown Line Prepares to Receive First Passenger

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The Brown Line has a ride time of 3.8 minutes. Image by Cesar Dockweiler.

La Paz’s next urban gondola, the Brown Line (Spanish: Línea Café) will welcome its first passenger this Thursday. President Evo Morales will partake in special event to celebrate the opening of the city’s ninth transit ropeway.

With a length of just 714m and just two stations, it will be the shortest cable car. Nevertheless, the system will provide an essential last mile connection for riders living in the Miraflores and Villa San Antonio community. While the President will become the first rider, it seems like actual passenger service will not begin until the new year.

The Mi Teleférico system continues to win accolades worldwide and recently was a recipient of the LATAM Smart City Award. With more than 250,000 daily passengers, the urban gondolas have significantly improved the lives of thousands of commuters.

The world’s largest network of public transit gondolas will continue to grow in the next two years as the Silver Line (2.6km) and Gold Line (2.2km) are scheduled to open in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

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CNBC Explores Mi Teleférico in La Paz

Post by Gondola Project

How cable-car systems are changing public transport in La Paz from CNBC.

Urban gondolas are getting more and more mainstream media attention — so much so that major news outlets are now purposely travelling to La Paz to learn how Mi Teleférico has transported 150 million passengers in just four years!

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Moscow Inaugurates New Urban Gondola — Sparrow Hills Cable Car

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Sparrow Hills Cable Car gracefully glides across the Moskva River. Image by Mos.ru.

After construction began in May 2017, Moscow’s first urban gondola — the Sparrow Hills Cable Car (Russian: Канатная дорога на Воробьёвых горах) — has finally opened to the public. The ropeway was slated to commence operations alongside World Cup celebrations but it unfortunately experienced several delays. Citizens have been waiting patiently for the revival of an aerial lift at Sparrow Hills since a former chairlift was dismantled in 2016.

The system is designed to cross the Moskva River and connect to three visitor areas which include Luzhniki Stadium, New League/Kosygina and Sparrow Hills. On its first day, the 737m long cable car was visited by the city’s mayor who announced that the system will be free to ride for its first month. Thirty-five 8-person cabins will offer a capacity of 1,600 pphpd to riders. Trip times will be reduced to just five minutes compared to 15 minutes by road.

As a purely recreational system, the cable car has introduced several important elements to attract tourists. At Sparrow Hills — one of the highest points in Moscow — riders have direct access to an observation deck which provides visitors with panoramic views of the capital.

Luzhniki Stadium station is located next to the national stadium of Russia — one of the biggest arenas in Europe with a capacity of 80,000+. Image by NearEMPTiness.

View of cable car looking towards Sparrow Hill. Image by Near EMPTiness.

Passengers can either choose to ride a “visitor” route (Luzhniki Stadium to Sparrow Hills) or a “sports” route (Luzhniki Stadium to New League). At the New League mid-station, visitors will be able to rent skiing and snowboarding equipment. However, tourists will have wait until February 2019 before the “sports” route is opened.

To enable easier transfers for cyclists, cabins are equipped with bike racks. Inside the carriers, free audio guides in four different languages are available for those interested in learning about their surroundings. For those looking to enhance their travel experience, two 4-person VIP cabins with leather seats can be booked while every station is designed with a souvenir store and cafes.

VIP cabins are a popular way to celebrate special events and occasions. Image by stroimos.

To encourage greater ridership during non-peak travel times, the system operators have opted to implement a dynamic fare structure where weekday passenger tickets are less expensive than weekend tickets. A one-way fare for adults starts at US$6.00 (400 rubles) from Monday to Friday and US$7.50 (500 rubles) on Saturdays and Sundays. Seniors, children and large groups are offered discounted tickets and payment can even be made with the local transit card, Troika.

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La Paz’s 9th Urban Gondola – The Brown Line – Will Open in January 2019

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The Brown Line’s Busch Station is partially hidden behind the red multi-storey building. To its right is the existing Busch Station for the White Line. Image by ecram.

After the cable was installed earlier this year in September, construction works have been progressing steadily for the Brown Line (Spanish: Línea Café) — La Paz’s 9th urban gondola and third final cable car.

Local reports suggest the upcoming rapid transit system will be open for passenger service by January 2019. If all goes according to plan, officials will begin system testing in December and will hopefully receive a safety certification by the end of the month. Unlike the rest of the Mi Teleférico network where each line is connected to at least three stations, the Brown Line marks a slight departure from this design philosophy.

At just 714m in length and two stations, the Brown Line will be shortest ropeway line in La Paz. As a comparison, the Linea Cafe is 80% shorter and has three fewer stations than the network’s longest line (i.e. the Blue Line).

Photo the Brown Line’s Villa San Antonio Station back in August 2018. Image by massaff.

Brown Line. Image from Mi Teleferico.

Despite its relatively short length, the system provides an important transport service to locals travelling to the Miraflores and Villa San Antonio neigbhourhoods located in the east end of the city. Effectively this means that the Brown Line will function as a feeder system to the longer 2.9km White Line since it provide riders with the ability to transfer at Busch station. The Brown Line will be one of the two systems scheduled to open in the new year — the second being the 2.6km Silver Line.

To put it into perspective, after the Brown Line becomes operational, the city’s cable car masterplan (i.e. Metropolitan Integration Network) will be over 80% complete as the La Paz will have built nearly 28km of cable cars spread over 33 stations. By comparison, the world’s second largest network of urban gondolas in Medellin, Colombia is less than half that size with just 12km of ropeways and 16 stations.

Overall, the new system will offer passengers with a speedy 3.8 minute connection and operate with a capacity of 3,000 pphpd (26 cabins). Officials hope that the Brown Line will add to its success as Mi Teleférico’s existing lines now transport more than 250,000 passengers each day! Not too shabby for a system that only first opened in 2014.

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System Dossier: Puebla Aerial Tram

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Teleferico de Puebla. Image by S. Alexis.

With a population of more than 3.2 million residents, Puebla City is the fourth largest metropolis in Mexico and is the capital of Puebla state. Strategically located in the nation’s central region (about 2 hours drive from Mexico City), Puebla is rich in history and culture which helped it become 1 of 35 World Heritage Sites in the country.

To increase its tourist offerings, the city opened the Puebla Aerial Tram (Spanish: Teleférico de Puebla) in January 2016 to provide visitors with stunning panoramic views of its natural and urban landscape. The aerial tram, built with two 35-passenger cabins, connects the historically significant old military Forts of Loreto and Guadelupe (near the Zaragoza monument) and the new Exhibition/Convention Center.

One of the interesting design features of the ropeway is that the system’s terminals function both as a passenger station and as a tower — and therefore, have no intermediate towers between its 688m long route. For the station located near the Zaragoza monument (Fort station), passengers ascend 48m via an elevator before arriving at platform level. On the Exhibition Center side, the “station tower” is even taller at 58m.

Looking towards the 48m tall Fort station which is built with concrete. Image by Luis Alvaz.

Closer look at Fort Station (48m). Teleferico de Puebla. Image by Luis Alvaz.

Looking towards Exhibition Center station. Image by Luiz Alvaz.

As the cable lift soars above the entire city, riders can view the world’s largest urban mural and catch glimpses of the two nearby massive active volcanoes (Iztaccihuatl – 5,286m and Popocatepelt – 5,500m). As a tourist system, passengers are accompanied by a friendly guide in the cabin. To complete the visitor experience, the ropeway is located adjacent to other major attractions such as the Museum of Evolution, a planetarium and the Cable Car Park. Ticket-wise, prices are reasonably priced at US$1.50 (one-way) and US$2.50 (roundtrip).

While the system has proved popular with tourists, attracting 500,000 to 752,000 per year, the project was not completed without controversy. The system’s opening was delayed for a year and the final construction cost was more than 100% over budget.

Nevertheless, the aerial tram’s impressive design and unique ride experience makes it a top attraction in Puebla.

Year opened 2016
Length (km) 0.68
Capacity (pphpd) 692
Speed (m/s) 7.0
Fare one-way (US) $1.50


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