La Paz Celebrates Opening of Sixth Urban Gondola, the White Line

Post by Gondola Project

The 2.9km White Line plays an instrumental role in linking up La Paz-El Alto’s existing urban gondola systems. Image from Cesar Dockweiler.

La Paz-El Alto’s sixth Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system, the White Line (Spanish: Línea Blanca), was officially inaugurated last Saturday. With its opening, the world’s largest and busiest network of urban ropeways is now more than 60% complete.

Thousands of residents, alongside the Bolivian President (Evo Morales), Mi Teleferico’s Executive Manager (Cesar Dockweiler) and the country’s Vice President (Alvaro Garcia Linera) were all in attendance as the festivities kicked-off with musical performances and celebrations. Those who attended were given the opportunity to experience the system for free.

However, regular adult fares were set at 3 Bolivianos (US$0.50) for the first route and then 2 Bolivianos (US$0.28) for each transfer thereafter. Fares for children, seniors, and persons with disabilities are set at half the price of an adult ticket.

Out of the 11 planned/existing cable car systems, the 2.9km White Line will be Mi Teleférico’s sixth longest cable car. Built at a cost of $60 million with four stations, the cable car’s 131 10-person cabins will carry upwards of 3,000 pphpd on a 13 minute trip via 26 towers. Mi Teleférico’s GM admitted that the White Line’s construction has been challenging but the system is one of the most emblematic ropeway systems.

From from transit connectivity perspective, the White Line functions as a critical lynchpin in the overall network as it provides riders with a north-south connection to the Orange Line (Spanish: Línea Naranja), Sky Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Celeste) and the future Brown Line (Spanish: Línea Café).  In turn, these connections allow passengers to make further transfers onto the rest of the urban gondola network.

From Villarroel Station to Triangular Station, passengers travel southbound at heights of ~30m above ground along Busch Ave. Design-wise, this appears to be the second system so far (after the Blue Line) in La Paz-El Alto where an urban gondola alignment adheres to an existing road median. The centre median also doubles as an electrical corridor and a linear green space. From Triangular Station to San Jorge Station, the gondola rises above existing buildings before quickly descending into a valley.

Villarroel Station, the northern terminus, is considered the world’s first underground urban gondola station. Passengers at this station can transfer to the Orange Line. Image from Mi Teleferico.

Busch Station was built with a “bridge” design which maintains the integrity of vehicular flow underneath the station. Image from Skyscrapercity.

Triangular Station is built on the Park Plaza San Martin. To reduce privacy invasion along Busch Ave, the cable car was constructed 13m away from residential buildings. Image from Skyscrapercity.

San Jorge Station, the southern terminus, is built with an elevator which connects passengers to Ave del Poeta. From here, passengers can transfer to the Sky Blue Line. Image from Cesar Dockweiler.

After the White Line was inaugurated, the Bolivian president, in a somewhat surprising fashion also opened the first section of the Sky Blue Line (between San Jorge Station and Libertador Station). Construction for this line is continuing to move forward as the rope will be pulled to the Sky Blue Line’s Prado terminus on April 8.

View of the Sky Blue Line looking southbound. The interchange Libertador Station with the Green and Yellow Line can be seen in the back of the photo. Image from Mi Teleférico.

Looking to the future, this means that more five urban gondola lines will be opened in the next few years (four lines if you count the partial opening of the Sky Blue Line as a full inauguration).

By the end of 2018, Mi Teleférico wants to start commercial operations on the Sky Blue Line, Purple Line and Brown Line. This means that more than 26km of urban gondola spread over 33 stations may be operational in the next ten months. The Silver Line is then scheduled for completion in 2019.

Already the existing cable cars transport an average of 151,000 passengers per day. Based on anecdotal evidence, it appears that Mi Teleférico has instilled a significant amount of pride amongst the vast majority of locals. Officials hope that once the entire $740 million network of urban gondolas are complete, up to 350,000 passengers will ride the network each day.

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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.

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