La Paz



It’s a ‘Disruptive Game-Changer’ But Still There’s Much Ground to Cover

Last month, Dopplemayr made a big splash is the ropeway transit industry. They inked a deal worth nearly a half billion US dollars, for six new ropeway cable car lines in the neighbouring Latin American municipalities of La Paz and El Alto. Another 20km will be added to the existing ropeway system over the next four years. That will triple the system’s current reach, providing greater access for thousands of commuters. So it’s ‘a big deal’ for everyone.

In the public transportation sectors —where project costs routinely cost billions of dollars—this may not seem like a lot, but in the world of cable-propelled transit, it’s huge. Never has the industry signed a single deal of this size. “This second phase of the network in La Paz/El Alto is a milestone for urban applications of ropeways,” agrees Dopplemayr’s Marketing Director, Ekkehard Assmann.

Before the signing, Dopplemayr was already unquestionably the biggest player in the ropeway engineering industry. However you could have argued whether they dominated this specialized and uniquely challenging arena of urban cable transit. Now you cannot. This deal not only reinforces Dopplemayr’s market dominance, it positions them very well for the growing urban transit market.


This Is Good News For the Whole Sector, Not Just Dopplemayr

Make no mistake: a deal of this magnitude will create far more interest and growth in urban ropeways. Competitors are likely very envious at the moment, but they will benefit too. Remember the old saying, ‘A high tide floats all ships’. In other words, when a deal of this size goes through it’s good for the entire industry. Major contracts like this tend to increase momentum and the likelihood of future deals. Better still, all of us in the industry will learn a great deal from the next four years.

This deal is what the international business press would call ‘disruptive’ or a ‘game-changer’.

Note that we said ‘would’. A quick Google of the news revealed no attention from the major players, despite that it is the biggest deal of its kind, ever. So why is there this deafening silence?


“Next Stops, Europe and North America”

Currently this specialized industry is growing at a healthy rate. However that growth is almost exclusively in Latin American countries like Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia. There is still ‘much ground to cover’ in prime markets — in the developed world. Cable-propelled transit needs to be sign as a solution for all congested cities.

The press has not picked up on the importance of the deal but should soon. Remember another popular saying, from Isaac Newton, “An object in motion tends to remain in motion.” With a project of this size on the go, congested and important cities in developed countries will start to notice. Indeed, they already are. This project positions Dopplemayr well to seize those prime opportunities on the near horizon. Ekkehard Assmann couldn’t agree more: “Many new business inquiries from cities worldwide underscore this point.”

For now, the whole industry is looking forward to answering those inquiries.



5 More Urban Cable Cars Announced in La Paz, Bolivia

Map of 5 new cable cars. Image from La-Razon.

It appears that 3 cable car lines in La Paz-El Alto weren’t enough to solve the transportation challenges in the Bolivian capital. This week, President Morales, has announced plans for the second phase of the city’s Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) network.

And this time around, the project is even more ambitious and more grandiose than the last. Five cable car lines will be implemented with a total cost of USD $450 million! That’s nearly two times the amount that was invested in the first phase.

It is still uncertain where the financing will come from nor when work will begin, but there is evidence to suggest that some costs will be covered via profits generated by the initial cable car lines.

The new Line 1 seems to be a westbound extension of the new Linea Roja (Line Red) with several stations throughout El Alto. The new Line 2 appears to be an east-west stand-alone line that is not connected to any other CPT system.

Line 3 seems to be an extension of Linea Roja once again. However, this time in an eastbound direction before it makes a southbound turn — which thereafter, the line effectively becomes the new Line 4.

Lastly, Line 5 appears to be an extension of Linea Verde (Line Green) with its terminus in the Cota Cota neighbourhood.

If somehow this entire proposal is fully built, La Paz will firmly cement its position as the undisputed world capital of cable cars.

And as always, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date with any new developments.

La Paz / La Paz Urban Gondolas
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La Paz Teleféricos – Update (December 2013)

109 cabins for Red Line arrives in La Paz. Image from Photobucket and SSC.

As some of our readers may know, the 3 cable car lines currently under construction in La Paz, Bolivia are due to open early next year. Unfortunately, language barriers sometimes makes gathering intel from South America difficult.

Luckily though, we do have a large international audience who are kind enough to forward us information — and thanks to Raphael, we now have some sources that give us an update.

System Map. Screenshot from Ministry website.

System Map. Screenshot from Ministry Website.

Here’s a refresher of what’s being built at the moment:

  1. Red Line (Línea Roja): 2.4km, 3 stations, 10 minutes travel time, capacity of 3000 pphpd
  2. Yellow Line (Línea Amarilla): 3.9km, 4 stations, 13.5 minutes travel time, capacity of 3000 pphpd
  3. Green Line (Línea Verde): 3.7km , 4 stations, 16.6 minutes travel time, capacity of 3000 pphpd

And undoubtedly for all those who are interested in urban transport, you should probably follow this system.

The reason you may ask?

Well, once it opens, the La Paz teleféricos will most likely become the world’s largest network of urban transit cable cars.

And not only that, at an estimated final cost of USD$234.6 million, this is single-handedly the largest investment that a government has made into urban gondola technology. The combined cable network of 10km is expected to alleviate congestion for the 200,000 people that travel between La Paz and El Alto!

If that’s not impressive enough, this is probably the first instance in man-kind where cable driven systems function as the mass transit backbone of a large city.

And if the La Paz system is successful, the implications of this could be far-reaching. In other words, with La Paz being the first, you know that someone will soon want to be second.

So in the meantime, check out the links below and we’ll be sure to keep you updated.


Technical Information: Click here.

System Map: Click here.

Facebook: Click here.

Twitter: Click here.



La Paz Teleferico – Update

Route alignment and statistics for La Paz Teleferico. Image from

A couple weeks ago, we discovered that La Paz, Bolivia was planning to build 3 new CPT lines. However, some of the reported numbers seemed a little “off” to say the least. Based on the figures previously provided, the cable lifts would operate at speeds up to 50-60km/h!

In my attempt to set things straight, I decided to dive a little deeper into this issue. I immediately came upon some numbers that are more consistent with other CPT systems. According to the source above, the 3 lines are only 2.61km, 3.60km and 4.19km and will have trip times of 9.6 minutes, 13 minutes and 15.9 minutes respectively.

With these statistics, the system speeds are now ~16km/h, which of course, is back in the realm of possibility. Also, instead of 36km of cable, the total system length for the 3 lines is 10.4km. I hope this gives a bit more clarity on this issue, but if anyone has any updates, we’d love to hear it.

La Paz
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Weekly Roundup: La Paz, Bolivia plans 10km of cable.

A quick look at some of the things that happened this week in the world of cable cars, urban gondolas, and cable propelled transit:

The bill to authorize the implementation of the CPT lines was approved yesterday in Bolivia’s House of Representatives. Image from

  • La Paz will soon become the fourth major city in South America to build CPT. There are 3 systems planned. The total length of the lines are approximately 10km and the total investment is worth USD $234 million.
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La Paz / Proposals & Concepts
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