Mi Teleférico

25
Jul

2017

Orange Line Undergoes Testing, Set to Open in October

Orange Line (Línea Naranja). Image from miteleferico.bo.

After drones began pulling the pilot rope in May, construction and technical work has continued to advance quickly on La Paz’s Orange Line (Línea Naranja) cable car. This week, an online video from La Razón’s Facebook page reveals that the system is now undergoing testing.

Mi Teleférico’s Executive Manager César Dockweiler announced that the inauguration of La Paz’s fifth Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system is scheduled for the first week of October if everything goes according to plan.

The Orange Line is the second ropeway (after the Blue Line) to open as part of the city’s Phase Two US$506 million urban gondola plans (Red de Integración Metropolitana).



With four stations and a length of 2.6km, the Orange Line will improve connectivity to more than five neighbourhoods in La Paz. Passengers will be able to move seamlessly through the cable car as the system’s terminals are connected to the existing Red Line and the upcoming White Line.

Designed to operate at capacity of 3,000 pphpd with 127 cabins, the system will reduce travel times to 9.5 minutes. In preparation for its October opening, students and young professionals have already been invited to join the Mi Teleférico team by submitting their resumes.

After the Orange Line opens for passenger service, the White Line is expected to follow suit by starting operations in December.



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01
Jun

2017

La Paz Celebrates Three Years of Cable Car Operations

Red Line. Image by Flickr user Jamil Soria.

It might be a little hard to believe, but it has been three years since La Paz-El Alto’s first urban cable car system was built. On May 29, 2014, the Red Line (Spanish: Línea Roja) started providing passenger service between the plateaus of El Alto and the highlands of La Paz.

Since then, three more Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) lines have opened — the Yellow Line, Green Line and Blue Line — resulting in 15km of urban gondolas. Averaged out over the years, this means that about 7.9m of ropeways have been built each day.

Incredibly the work is not even half complete. Seven more cable lines are scheduled to open between now and 2019, with plans to inaugurate the White Line and Orange Line by late 2017. Once the entire urban gondola network is complete, 39 stations and nearly 34km of CPT will be operational.

Metropolitan Integration Network map showing all eleven CPT lines. Image from Mi Teleferico.

Leading the charge to transform urban mobility in the city is the young public company, Mi Teleférico and Austrian ropeway manufacturer, Doppelmayr. Mi Teleférico’s mandate is not only to modernize La Paz-El Alto’s chaotic transport network but to address socio-economic issues related to a rapidly growing city. For instance, cable car stations have become the focal point for community fairs and health care centres.

Before the gondola lines were built, travel was often stressful, unpredictable and time-consuming as existing roadways were congested with minibuses and cars. Today, high stress levels from travelling on roadways has been reduced as the CPT lines provide commuters with a reliable, efficient and comfortable transport alternative.

#vivaelarte #chorizocaliente #acustico #sonrisarepulsiva #miteleferico

A post shared by Chorizo Caliente (@chorizocaliente) on

With each passing day, the cable car has seemingly become more and more integral to the daily lives of its citizens. Recently on May 17, 2017, the urban gondola network set another daily ridership record with 190,971 passengers. This is 11,095 more passengers or a 6.1% increase than the previous record set in June 13, 2016.

From nearly any perspective, whether one is examining the cable car network from an economic, social, and/or environmental lens, the system has been an incredible success. Some of the most remarkable highlights include:

  • Avoided consumption of ten million litres of gasoline (2014-2016)
  • Transported more than 70 million passengers since inception without any serious accidents/injuries
  • Network availability rate of 99.7%
  • Saved 816,000,000 minutes in travel time (2016)

Perhaps the most incredible result stemming from Mi Teleférico is related to its financial viability. Unlike most public transit systems, the urban cable car network in La Paz requires zero subsidies. In fact, a surplus of US$2.5 million (Bs 17.5 million) was actually generated in 2016.

This effectively places Mi Teleférico amongst an incredibly rare and elite class of transit systems with a farebox recovery ratio of more than 100%. Based on online data, La Paz would be 1 out of 8 transit agencies that meets this threshold and would be the only mass transit system in South America in this exclusive class.

As the only major city in the world to build its entire rapid transit backbone on CPT technology, La Paz’s cable cars continues to be trailblazers in the urban transport industry. Given its successes so far, the future looks bright for the world’s highest city.



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05
Apr

2017

Photo (Plus Video) of the Week: Línea Azul Soars Above El Alto

Linea Azul (Mi Teleferico Site)

Image from Mi Teleferico.



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27
Mar

2017

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

Orange-Line-White-Line-Mi-Teleferico

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!

 

 



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07
Mar

2017

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

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
PATHUSA13.8190813518,167
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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03
Mar

2017

La Paz Opens City’s Longest Mass Transit Urban Gondola: Blue Line (Línea Azul)

Blue Line flying high in city of El Alto. Image by Mi Teleférico.

Blue Line flying high in city of El Alto. Image by Mi Teleférico.

March 3, 2017 marks a very special day not only in the highlands of Bolivia but in the world of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT). Known on social media as the “Great Blue Leap” (Spanish: #ElGrandSaltoAzul), the 5-station Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Azul) was officially opened for passenger service. The CPT system, built by Doppelmayr, is the 4th urban cable car that is a part of Mi Teleferico’s world leading gondola network.

Depending upon how a public transit ropeway is defined, initial estimates suggest that the Blue Line may be one of the longest mass transit urban gondolas in the world. Comparatively speaking, this system slightly edges out its closest Latin American counterparts by ~100-200m (Mexicable – 4.8km and Mariche Metrocable -4.8km).

Unlike the previous Red, Yellow and Green Lines, the Blue Line operates entirely in El Alto (world’s highest metropolis) and is the first system to be fully equipped with free wifi and security cameras in all cabins. Estimates suggest that the aerial lift will transport 30,000 passengers daily and benefit upwards of half a million residents in 18 neighbourhoods!

From a network perspective, the Blue Line effectively extends the Red Line’s reach deeper into El Alto. The 16 de Julio (Jach’a Qhathu) Station’s role is further strengthened as an interchange station. Already, the station’s ground floor is home to the Amauta Shopping Centre and a commercial area where passengers will walk through during a transfer.  At full build out, 16 de Julio will be one of two interchange stations where you can conveniently transfer onto three separate urban ropeways.

Mi-Teleferico-Map-March-2017

Map of Mi Teleférico at full build out. Image by Mi Teleférico.

Travelling westbound from 16 de Julio station, passengers arrive at Plaza Libertad Station. At this location, a cultural center for El Alto was built to complement and enhance site usage. Between Plaza Libertad Station, Plaza La Paz Station and Universidad Pública de El Alto (UPEA) Station, the cable car is built entirely within the traffic median of 16 de Julio Avenue. In fact, both the Plaza Libertad and Plaza La Paz Stations are built in the middle of a traffic circle. This stretch of the cable car demonstrates how CPT systems can be fitted nimbly and strategically within a city’s existing built form. As more urban cable cars are built, expect many more systems in the future to utilize this design strategy.  


At UPEA station, an estimate of 10,000 from the University’s 35,000+ student population are expected to fully take advantage of the gondola’s direct connection to the campus.

And finally, at the Blue Line’s western terminus is the Ex Rio Seco (Waña Jawtra) Station. An existing commercial area and an interprovincial bus stop are both located at this node, which undoubtedly enhance convenience and connectivity for passengers.

With the completion of the Blue Line, six more systems are left as part of the massive US$450 million Phase 2 investment plans. The next systems that are scheduled to open include the White and Orange Lines (Spanish: Línea Blanca and Línea Naranja) in late 2017. The White Line in early February 2017 was reportedly 60% complete.

As for the remaining cable cars, the Sky Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Celeste) and Purple Line (Spanish: Línea Morada) will open in 2018 while the Silver Line (Spanish: Línea Plateada) and Gold Line (Spanish: Línea Dorada) will open in 2019.

Overall, the Blue Line continues the mandate of the Bolivian government to modernize and improve its transport infrastructure. Just like the existing urban gondolas, the Blue Line is open for 17 hours each day and the fares are priced sensitively at US$0.40 (Bs 3) or US$0.30 (Bs 2) if a passenger is transferring from the Red Line.




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20
Jan

2017

Photo of the Week: Mi Teleférico

Nosso amor nas alturas! #bolivia #lapaz #miteleferico #momentostensos #tarapidodemaisamor #kkkkk

A photo posted by Rafael Monteiro (@rafamonteiroco) on



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