Post by Nick Chu
In just 22 months, La Paz urban gondola network, Mi Teleférico (My Cable Car), has surpassed 40 million riders. That’s an average of about 1.8 million passengers per month, or 60,000 per day.
Perhaps this isn’t all too surprising since the 10km long cable car network (3 lines: Red, Yellow, Green) has a total capacity of 18,000 per hour (both directions) while providing 12 second headways. For many riders, the US$0.40 urban gondola line ride has reduced travel times by up to 60 minutes, making it an attractive and cost-effective alternative to the chaotic bus system.
To better understand how deeply integrated the system is in people’s lives, the cable cars are often used to fulfill a variety of social objectives. For instance, the cable car recently served as a platform to promote awareness on HIV prevention.
While it is already considered the world’s largest network of urban gondolas, the president quickly announced plans for phase 2, thereby adding 6 more lines (totalling 20.3km, and 23 stations).
So far, these plans have been moving along at near break-neck speeds. Large shipments of ropeway equipment continue to arrive in the city from Doppelmayr’s Wolfurt headquarters. Based on online reports, the Blue Line and White Line are nearing completion with the Blue Line scheduled for operations by the first half of 2017.
CABLE CARS GALORE
And just this week, two major announcements were made.
A new cable car, the Silver Line (Linea Plateada) was announced while construction works for the Purple Line (Linea Morada) began.
Once designs are complete, construction of the Silver Line (2.6km, 3 stations, 11 minutes, 39 cabins, US$60 million) could start in 2017 and be operational by 2018/2019. The cable car will effectively unify and integrate 4 separate lines (Yellow, Purple, Blue and Red).
If this wasn’t enough excitement and activity for one week, the President took part in laying the foundation stone for the Purple Line (4.4km, 3 stations, 189 cabins).
Unlike the cable cars found in phase 1, the Purple Line will feature higher specs and has been dubbed, the “Express Line”. Compared to existing travel times along this corridor, the Purple Line is projected to cut commutes by more than 20 minutes.
Due to phase 1’s popularity (Red, Yellow, Green), it was found that greater capacities were needed to meet passenger demand. As such, the Purple Line has been designed with maximum speeds of 6m/s (5m/s in phase 1), capacity of up to 4,000 pphpd (3,000 pphpd in phase 1), 9 second headways (12 seconds in phase 1) and cabin spacing of 54m (60m in phase 1).
Once again, as we can see in the Purple Line, ropeway technology has demonstrated its ability to push the envelope and respond to the rapidly changing demands in the urban market.
Want more? Purchase Cable Car Confidential: The Essential Guide to Cable Cars, Urban Gondolas & Cable Propelled Transit and start learning about the world's fastest growing transportation technologies.