09
Feb

2019

Mexico City Wants to Build 34km (21mi) of Urban Gondolas

Post by Gondola Project

Indio Verdes Station. Image from CDMX.

This week Mexico City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, released details of a massive urban gondola project which is comprised of four lines and 34 kilometres (21 miles). Yes, that’s 34km of ropeways!

Officials estimate that this network, known as the Cablebús, could transport a staggering 117 million passenger trips per year when it is complete. If built, Mexico City may one day be home to the world’s largest network of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems and steal the coveted title away from La Paz’s Mi Teleférico network (estimated to be 32.7km when fully built).

Today, some readers might recall that the region is already home to the 4.7km (2.9mi) Mexicable which opened in 2016.

Route alignment. Image from CDMX.

IPN Station. Image from CDMX.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, the government is taking it step by step. It appears that it has proposed a phase one plan that is split into two lines.

  1. Line 1: Cuautepec – Indios Verdes (7.7km, 5 stations)
  2. Line 2: Santa Catarina – Ermita (Iztapalapa) (1.7km, 2 stations)

Combined, the two urban gondolas will represent a total investment of US$157.2 million (3 billion pesos) resulting in 9.4km (5.8mi) of ropeways and seven stations. Line 1 and Line 2 will be designed with a capacity of 4,000 pphpd and 1,000 pphpd respectively.

La Pastora Station. Image by CDMX.

Campos Revolucion Station. Image by CDMX.

Reports suggest that this new transit system will benefit over 305,000 residents in some of the City’s poorest neighbourhoods where 75% of the local population lives below the poverty line. Ridership is estimated to be 50,000 riders per day for Line 1 and 4,400 riders per day for Line 2.

Officials have also promised to sync the cable car’s operational hours to the subway. In fact, they propose that the ropeways will be opened 30 minutes longer than the subway (6:30am – 12:00am) so that all passengers can safely return home after a day of work.

Cuautepec Station. Image by CDMX.

By soaring over topographical barriers, project proponents hope to not only lower travel times from 80 minutes to 46 minutes but to also shift user demand from polluting modalities and reduce 3,100 tons of carbon dioxide. From a social perspective, officials hope to recreate the positive results seen in other Latin American cable car cities where improved transit connectivity reduces crime rates.

In terms of its timeline, the government is wasting no time to implement this project. The City will partner with the United Nations Office for Project Services to assist with tender work. Contracting is scheduled to start next month and should be complete by May/June. Afterwards, construction will immediately start and the cable car lines will be operational by July 2020.




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02
Feb

2019

Oakland Athletics Proposes 3S Gondola to New Ballpark

Post by Gondola Project

Jack London Square station. Image by Oakland Athletics.

The Oakland Athletics, a Major League Baseball team, has released its ambitious plans to build a $123 million urban gondola connecting its waterfront stadium to downtown Oakland. 

The three-minute cable car ride has been designed to ease the first / last mile problem for ballpark visitors arriving by public transport on BART trains. At it currently stands, the waterfront stadium and the downtown lacks rapid transit connectivity and is cut off by two highways and a railroad.

Transit riders will hop onto the gondola near the Oakland Convention Centre / 12th Street BART Station before being dropped off at Jack London Square where the stadium will be a short walk away. An independent study estimated that it could attract more than a million visitors and boost tourism in Oakland by approximately 50,000 people.

A single “circular ring tower” adds a bit of architectural flair to the gondola system. Image by Oakland Athletics.

Downtown Oakland Stadium. Image by Oakland Athletics.

A total of $685 million in economic spinoffs could be created with the gondola over ten years through increased taxable sales, construction and operations of the gondola, and reduced travel times. In fact, aside from shuttling baseball fans, the gondola could serve the thousands of commuters who currently work and live near the city’s growing waterfront community. Some online commentators have even suggested that an urban gondola could provide further benefits by extending its alignment to Alameda, a growing and disconnected community located south of the waterfront.

Media reports have indicated that government officials and civic leaders have been positive with the concept — especially because the system will be financed entirely by the private sector. At this time, ticket prices are still under study but season ticket holders may receive free tickets.

From a system performance standpoint, a total of twelve to fourteen 35-person cabins will be used to transport 6,000 persons per hour per direction (pphpd). Construction of the urban cable car will take approximately 18-months and its inauguration is planned to coincide with a 2023 opening of the Howard Terminal stadium.

This gondola system could one day be one of two “baseball stadium gondolas” operating in the United States as the Los Angeles Dodgers are also exploring the feasibility of an urban ropeway.

 



 



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25
Jan

2019

First Cabins Have Arrived for Haifa’s Urban Gondola

Post by Gondola Project

 

Haifa Urban Gondola. Image from Colbonews.

A little over a year ago, we reported that Haifa’s 4.6km urban gondola proposal was still in the planning and design stage. Fast forward to January 2019, construction is well underway and the first cabins have arrived in the northern Israeli city.

To enhance passenger comfort and safety, it appears that the cabins will be equipped with air conditioning and security cameras. A/C will be important for riders as the end-to-end travel times will be 19 minutes. In terms of aesthetics, the cabins are coloured white at this time but the actual cabins will be blue.

System map. Screenshot from Youtube.

As it stands, the ropeway will connect 6 major activity nodes which include the central bus terminal, Krayot Junction (Check Post), Dori Street, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology (2 stations) and the University of Haifa. Project proponents hope to increase public transit usage by providing a convenient and quick connection for 2 million annual passengers.

This project is worth NIS 330 million (US$90 million) and is a culmination of more than 10 years of planning. Despite the advanced construction stage of the gondola, some citizens asked the city’s new mayor if the project could still be cancelled. In response, the Ministry of Transport explained that the project is at “a point of no return”.

If everything goes according to plan, the system is expected to open for passenger service in March 2020.



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09
Jan

2019

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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29
Dec

2018

Colombian Capital Opens First Urban Gondola – TransMiCable

Post by Gondola Project

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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18
Dec

2018

La Paz’s Brown Line Prepares to Receive First Passenger

Post by Gondola Project

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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Mi Teleférico
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09
Dec

2018

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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Mi Teleférico
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