17
Oct

2018

La Paz Breaks Ridership Record With 318,500 Passengers

Post by Gondola Project

Image by Mi Teleferico.

A new milestone was set last week when La Paz’s urban gondola network, Mi Teleférico, reached 318,532 passengers in a single day.

Regardless of what you might think of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT), these numbers are nothing short of impressive. To put it into perspective, just four years ago, this rugged Bolivian city had zero fixed-link transit lines. But today, it has proven that it can transport the same amount of daily riders, if not more, than the average North American light rail system. As we speak, an average of 250,000 riders per day ride eight urban gondola lines spanning 27.2km (16.9mi).

In fact, just this week, the newly minted Purple Line (opened September 28) reached a million riders in just 20 days — averaging 50,000 passengers per day.

A quick comparative analysis reveals just how much praise La Paz should receive. Based on the numbers from Wikipedia, only three North American “LRT” systems have more passengers per day on average than La Paz — all of which are located outside the US. In other words, there are zero American light rail lines that carry more riders than La Paz. The closest system is the Metro Rail in Los Angeles with 219,900 passengers per day.

On a passengers per mile basis, La Paz shines equally as bright. Except for Guadalajara’s light rail, no LRT system comes close to La Paz. Compared to US light rail lines, Mi Teleférico has 70% more passengers per mile on an average than Boston’s MBTA.

For die-hard critics of the technology, such robust figures makes it harder and harder to claim that ropeway systems are incapable of being “real” public transit. In fact, if Mi Teleférico’s daily rider record was compared to major North American rapid transit lines, like the Chicago L, the BART, and the Skytrain, it would be North America’s 12th busiest rapid transit line — outpacing major transit systems such as SEPTA (Philadelphia), PATH (NY/NJ), and MARTA (Atlanta).

Perhaps the most incredible thing is that the system is not fully complete. Another 5.5km (3.4mi) of urban ropeways are scheduled to open within the next two years which means that more new records will be set.



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