Mexico City Wants to Build 34km (21mi) of Urban Gondolas

Indio Verdes Station. Image from CDMX.

This week Mexico City’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, released details of a massive urban gondola project which is comprised of four lines and 34 kilometres (21 miles). Yes, that’s 34km of ropeways!

Officials estimate that this network, known as the Cablebús, could transport a staggering 117 million passenger trips per year when it is complete. If built, Mexico City may one day be home to the world’s largest network of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems and steal the coveted title away from La Paz’s Mi Teleférico network (estimated to be 32.7km when fully built).

Today, some readers might recall that the region is already home to the 4.7km (2.9mi) Mexicable which opened in 2016.

Route alignment. Image from CDMX.

IPN Station. Image from CDMX.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, the government is taking it step by step. It appears that it has proposed a phase one plan that is split into two lines.

  1. Line 1: Cuautepec – Indios Verdes (7.7km, 5 stations)
  2. Line 2: Santa Catarina – Ermita (Iztapalapa) (1.7km, 2 stations)

Combined, the two urban gondolas will represent a total investment of US$157.2 million (3 billion pesos) resulting in 9.4km (5.8mi) of ropeways and seven stations. Line 1 and Line 2 will be designed with a capacity of 4,000 pphpd and 1,000 pphpd respectively.

La Pastora Station. Image by CDMX.

Campos Revolucion Station. Image by CDMX.

Reports suggest that this new transit system will benefit over 305,000 residents in some of the City’s poorest neighbourhoods where 75% of the local population lives below the poverty line. Ridership is estimated to be 50,000 riders per day for Line 1 and 4,400 riders per day for Line 2.

Officials have also promised to sync the cable car’s operational hours to the subway. In fact, they propose that the ropeways will be opened 30 minutes longer than the subway (6:30am – 12:00am) so that all passengers can safely return home after a day of work.

Cuautepec Station. Image by CDMX.

By soaring over topographical barriers, project proponents hope to not only lower travel times from 80 minutes to 46 minutes but to also shift user demand from polluting modalities and reduce 3,100 tons of carbon dioxide. From a social perspective, officials hope to recreate the positive results seen in other Latin American cable car cities where improved transit connectivity reduces crime rates.

In terms of its timeline, the government is wasting no time to implement this project. The City will partner with the United Nations Office for Project Services to assist with tender work. Contracting is scheduled to start next month and should be complete by May/June. Afterwards, construction will immediately start and the cable car lines will be operational by July 2020.

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