La Paz-El Alto: Two More Cable Transit Lines Set to Open in 2017

Post by Gondola Project


The 2.6km Orange Line and 2.8km White Line will be Mi Teleferico’s 5th and 6th urban cable cars. Image by Mi Teleferico.

For Gondola Project readers and La Paz-El Alto residents, the recent inauguration of the Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Azul) is probably still very fresh in mind.

While the excitement has barely subsided, it might be easy to forget that the Blue Line is just the first of three Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems that are scheduled to open this year in the world’s highest metropolis.

Based on online reports, the Orange Line (Spanish: Línea Naranja) and White Line (Spanish: Línea Blanca) are both planned for inauguration by October and December respectively.

The Orange Line will travel in an east-west alignment and will connect to Red Line’s eastern terminus (Central) and the White Line’s northern terminus (Villaroel). From Villaroel, the White Line will travel in a north-south configuration with future integrations to the Brown Line (Spanish: Línea Café) and the Sky Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Celeste).

The opening of the Orange and White Line will create an integrated transport experience from El Alto to Miraflores/San Jorge in La Paz. Image by Mi Teleferico.

The opening of the Orange and White Line will create an integrated transport experience from El Alto to Miraflores/San Jorge in La Paz. Image by Mi Teleférico.

At the start of the month, the Orange Line’s electromechanical components being manufactured in Doppelmayr’s Austrian headquarters were reportedly fully built with 85% of the parts already shipped to La Paz. For the civil works, 40% is already completed while 2 of the 4 stations are 80% finished. For the White Line, the system is now more than 60% complete as of last month with 100% of the electromechanical equipment already mounted.

Central Station (dated Feb 2017). By SSC user Massaff.

The Orange Line’s Central Station (dated Feb 2017) will be integrated with the the Red Line (seen on the right). Image by SSC user Massaff.

The 2.8km White Line will travel along Busch Av with 133 cabins, providing a trip time of 13 minutes. Image from Mi Teleferico.

The 2.8km White Line will travel along Busch Av with 133 cabins, providing a trip time of 13 minutes. At the Villaroel terminal, it will also feautre the world’s first below grade urban gondola station. Image by Mi Teleférico.

At 2.6km and 2.8km respectively, the Orange Line and White Line can be considered “mid-sized” systems. Compared to the other existing urban gondolas in La Paz, the average length is ~3.7km. In terms of stations, both the upcoming systems should have fairly large catchment areas as they are built with 4 stations each — thereby putting it on par with the Green Line and Yellow Line which also have 4 stations per line.

While both these new CPT systems are impressive, one of the most exciting aspects of these 2017 projects relate to the network effects of connecting four urban cable lines together (Blue Line, Red Line, Orange Line and White Line).

Riders will be able to travel on a near seamless journey onboard 12.8km urban gondolas from the bustling markets in El Alto to the boroughs of Miraflores/San Jorge in La Paz in approximately 60 minutes.

All in all, before the end of 2017, more than 10km of new CPT lines will soar above La Paz-El Alto, making it one of, if not the busiest year of urban cable car construction in the City. The incredible pace of construction and the large volumes of passengers transported on Mi Teleférico demonstrates once again that ropeway technology is more than capable of functioning reliability and efficiently in an urban mass transit environment.

And when 2017 is in the books, the dizzying implementation speed of La Paz-El Alto’s transport plans will continue for at least 2 more years. By 2019, the full build out of the world’s largest urban gondola network is expected to reach more than 33km in length!





World Map Update: Urban Gondolas, Cable Cars and Cable Propelled Transit

Post by Gondola Project

Spring has sprung so we decided to do some housekeeping at the Gondola Project and update our urban gondola map.

Since our last update in November 2016, we’ve documented another 19 new urban ropeway proposals  — pushing the total proposal list to over 140.

For new urban cable car lines, three systems have since opened for passenger service: 1) Línea H (Medellin); 2)Línea Azul (La Paz-El Alto); and 3) Eagle Skylift (Arthurs Seat).

Top right: Línea H. Top right: Línea Azul. Bottom: Eagle Skylift. Images by Metro Medellin, Mi Teleferico and ASEagle.

Top left: Línea H. Top right: Línea Azul. Bottom: Eagle Skylift. Images by Metro Medellin, Mi Teleferico and ASEagle.

Based on the compiled data, proposed systems ranged from simple 300m lines up to massive 42,000m ropeways spread over 20+ stations. Geographically, proposals were split into the following continents:

  • Africa: 4%
  • Asia: 18%
  • Australia: 5%
  • Europe: 34%
  • North America: 23%
  • South America: 16%

For those who peruse the map, it might be useful to keep in mind that proposals simply represent ones that have made a public announcement. Chances are, countless systems are currently being planned and designed without any public notification.

Furthermore, reader’s should note that the system’s documented (mostly) represent ropeways built in a non-ski lift/urban setting and are no longer limited to just mass transit cable cars. The map’s scope was expanded since the term Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) or mass transit cable cars was failing to fully capture all the ropeway activity happening in the urban market.

While we try our best to keep ourselves afloat with all the comings and goings of the industry, we certainly wouldn’t be able to compile everything without the help of our readers who’ve shared countless dozens of proposals/systems with us.

So, as always, if we’ve missed anything (and chances are that we have), please let us know!




  • Shin-Kobe Ropeway — Dossier
  • Constantine Cable Car — Dossier
  • Teleférico Metropolitano — Dossier
  • Yenimahalle – Sentepe (Ankara) Cable Car — Dossier





Doppelmayr Builds La Paz-El Alto’s Fourth Urban Cable Car: Blue Line (Línea Azul)

Post by Advertorial Team

The Blue Line inaugurated in El Alto with much anticipation and excitement. Image by Doppelmayr.

The Blue Line (Línea Azul) opened for passenger service with large celebrations around the city. Image by Doppelmayr.

Thanks to Doppelmayr Group, the world’s biggest urban cable car network (Mi Teleférico) in La Paz-El Alto is continuing to expand at record pace. On March 3, 2017, the 5-station Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Azul) opened for passenger service and extended rapid transit service into the highland communities of El Alto.

Built as the City’s fourth urban gondola, the 4.9km system is Mi Teleférico’s longest cable car system. The new gondola is directly connected with the existing Red Line (Spanish: Línea Roja) and provides a speedy and comfortable 20 minute aerial ride to the Jach’a Qhathu station.

With this new link, passengers can easily access the services, jobs and amenities located throughout La Paz and El Alto without the need to sit in the congested and narrow roadways underneath.


Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Doppelmayr.

The ropeway is the start of La Paz-El Alto’s formidable Phase II plans which totals $450 million and six urban cable cars. When Phase II is completed, the two Bolivian cities will be served by over 30km of urban gondolas and 26 stations!

10-MGD Blue Line (Section 1) 

Owner: Mi Teleférico
Location: El Alto (BOL)
Inclined Length: 3,170m
Vertical Rise: -40m
Capacity: 3,000 pphpd
Carriers: 136 ten-passenger cabins
Speed: 5.0 m/s
Trip Time: 13.62 min

10-MGD Blue Line (Section 2) 

Owner: Mi Teleférico
Location: El Alto (BOL)
Inclined Length: 1,723m
Vertical Rise: -21m
Capacity: 3,000 pphpd
Carriers: 72 ten-passenger cabins
Speed: 5.0 m/s
Trip Time: 7.17 min

Materials on this page are paid for. Gondola Project (including its parent companies and its team of writers and contributors) does not explicitly or implicitly endorse third parties in exchange for advertising. Advertising does not influence editorial content, products, or services offered on The Gondola Project.



Tbilisi/Georgian Ropeways, Part 1.2 – Tbilisi State University Ropeway

Post by Gondola Project


Tbilisi State University Campus - Bagebi Ropeway (Image by Marco Fieber).

Tbilisi State University Campus – Bagebi Ropeway (Image by Marco Fieber).

As part of our research into the state of urban cable cars in Tbilisi, we’re starting to learn more and more about the 10+ ropeways in the Georgian capital. One fascinating development we’ve received information about is the reconstruction of the Tbilisi State University (TSU) – Bagebi Ropeway.

This 334m Soviet-era system was built in 1983 to connect TSU with its dormitories in the Bagebi neighbourhood across the Vere River gorge. Unfortunately the system’s life was rather short-lived as operations ceased sometime in the 90s during intense civil unrest.

As we know it today, the TSU station (537m a.s.l.) is located north of the River Vere while the Dormitory station (553m a.s.l.) is located south of the river (see map here).

Opening day of ropeway. Image from Alamy.

Opening day of ropeway. Image from Alamy.

Reconstruction seems to be spurred in part by a desire to improve transportation connectivity across the gorge and to the future State University Metro station. Furthermore the need for cross river transportation has been heightened as a nearby footbridge 400m east of the ropeway is planned for reconstruction as well. With a temporary closure, this will severely impact transport options for the Georgian refugees housed in the university dormitories.

Aside from operational systems and the cable being brought in from Austria, sources indicate that most of the ropeway is being completed by a local company. Since the system is being privately rebuilt, the ropeway will not be municipally owned. There is no word yet on fares and ticketing structure.

If everything goes according to plan, the new urban ropeway will reopen in July 2017 and move Tbilisi one step closer towards a more modernized transport network. Until then, reader Irakli Z. has kindly shared with us some of the photos he took of the current reconstruction process. Enjoy!


Due to language barriers, if there is anything we missed or is incorrect, please let us know in the comments below. Thanks



Reaction: Cable Cars Are Changing the World

Post by Steven Dale

Image by Darren Garrett.

Image by Darren Garrett.

It’s no secret that with the rise of the 24-hour news cycle and the collapse of advertising revenues, journalistic standards and intellectual rigour have been on the decline across the publishing spectrum.

As such, when journalist Duncan Geere of How We Get to Next requested an interview of me on the subject of urban cable cars, I presumed it would be nothing more than a 300-word puff piece on the subject written in the time it to takes to write . . . well, a 300-word puff piece.

It was much to my surprise, then, that Greene’s piece “Cable Cars Are Changing The World” is nothing of the sort.

It is an exhaustive, engaging and otherwise top-notch article on the subject of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) and how they are rapidly being deployed throughout the world. For anyone new to the subject matter, I’d suggest starting with Greene’s article. It is comprehensive with a view into the history of the technology that few reporters bother to delve into.

He even takes the time to highlight one of the central complexities of the technology — nomenclature. Green perfectly encapsulates one of our industry’s constant problems:

“Researching the topic can be difficult, primarily because there are seemingly hundreds of different ways to refer to slight variations on the same basic principle. Spend 10 minutes looking into the subject and you’ll find people talking about gondolas, aerial tramways, ropeways, cableways, téléphériques, funiculars, funitels, inclined lifts, and many more.” 

As I read the article, there were at least a handful of moments I had to pause and think to myself “wow, I didn’t know that.”

If you’re new to the subject of urban cable cars, read this article. And if you’re an industry veteran who thinks postures to know everything there is to know about the topic — read this article. I can assure you there are things in there that will surprise and delight you.



Soaring Across the Yangtze River

Post by Gondola Project

Bridges and subways now cross the Yangtze River but nothing quite matches the joy and excitement of soaring across the delta on an urban ropeway.

Youtuber Luke Starkenburg takes us on a journey to learn more about the majestic Chongqing Yangtze River Cableway (Chinese: 长江索道) in what is probably one of the best videos on China’s second Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) line.

To this day, the cableway still attracts 2.5 million riders each year!

Big thanks to Timothy J for sharing the video with us. 



Blue Line (Línea Azul) Transports 41,000 Passengers In One Day

Post by Gondola Project

Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Mi Teleférico.

Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Mi Teleférico.

La Paz-El Alto’s newest Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system, the Blue Line (Línea Azul), opened for passenger service last Friday and has already surpassed initial projections during its maiden voyage. During the weekend, the urban cable car hit a peak day ridership of 41,000 persons and has directly boosted passenger levels on the Red Line (Línea Roja) by 15%.

At this rate, the Doppelmayr-built Blue Line may likely add 20,000 – 40,000 daily passengers to the entire Mi Teleférico network each day — thereby single-handedly increasing overall network ridership by up to 50% from current passenger numbers (existing: 80,000 – 100,000 daily riders).

Locals came out in droves to be the first ones to experience the Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Bolivia Sigue‏.

Locals came out in droves to be the first ones to experience the Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Bolivia Sigue‏.

A cursory analysis and comparison of La Paz to other rapid transit lines in North America indicates that only five other light rail systems (i.e. Calgary, Toronto, Guadalajara, Boston, Los Angeles) would have a higher daily ridership than Mi Teleférico.

Arguably, since Toronto’s “light rail system” is really more a “streetcar” network, this means that only four North American LRT systems see larger daily ridership figures. However, it is important to keep in mind that these light rail networks are 60-650% longer than Mi Teleférico and have up to 4.5x more stations.

From an average daily boardings per mile perspective, this is where the La Paz-El Alto’s system truly shines. Mi Teleférico on average transports ~13,000 – 15,000 passengers/mile. Compared to North American LRTs, La Paz would rank 2nd after Mexico’s Guadalajara Light Rail. And if La Paz was measured against all rapid transit systems in North America, Mi Teleférico would actually break the top ten list, ranking 9th just ahead of Santo Domingo’s metro line!

Passenger Boardings Per Mile (North America and La Paz)

SystemCountryLength (miles)Year OpenedStationsLinesAvg Daily Boarding Per Mile
New York City SubwayUSA23219044682439,055
Mexico City MetroMexico14119691951230,603
Montreal MetroCanada43196668429,390
Toronto SubwayCanada42.4195469425,785
Monterrey MetroMexico20199131224,984
Panama MetroPanama8.5201413121,176
Guadalajara Light RailMexico14.9198929217,790
Mi TeleféricoBolivia9.3201416413,000 - 15,000
Santo Domingo MetroDominican Republic17200930210,461

Note: Guadalajara Light Rail added to Wikipedia’s “List of North American rapid transit systems by ridership” in table above to allow for comparison of all rapid transit and not just Metro systems.


Some readers will likely argue that these are unfair comparisons since the landscape and modal split for North American and South American cities are different. While this might be true to a certain degree, this brief analysis reinforces that urban cable transit is no longer a fringe technology that’s incapable of operating as a reliable mass transit system.

On the contrary, Mi Teleférico demonstrates that when properly implemented, urban gondolas can quickly enhance and complement existing public transit networks.

Cultural celebrations took place at the Blue Line's western terminus, Wana Jawira, on March 3, 2017. Image by Bolivia Sigue.

Cultural celebrations took place at the Blue Line’s western terminus, Wana Jawira, on March 3, 2017. Image by Bolivia Sigue.

With this fantastic reception, manager of the state-owned ropeway system reiterated that the entire urban gondola network has achieved economic self-sufficiency — a goal rarely achieved by mass transit systems. Overall, as the city’s transport system modernizes, officials are diligently monitoring the system’s performance to ensure maximum reliability, safety and comfort.



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