Colombian Capital Opens First Urban Gondola – TransMiCable

TransMiCable was inaugurated on December 27, 2018. Image from IDU Bogota.

After more than two years of waiting, residents of the Ciudad Bolivar District in Bogota can finally rejoice as the City’s first urban gondola – TransMiCable – has started commercial operations.

First proposed by Mayor Enrique Peñalosa, the project is the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and design. Initial tender contracts were signed in July 2015 and construction began in September 2016.

The 3.34km ropeway is built with four stations and is projected to benefit 700,000 residents living in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Officials hope that the 80,000 residents living within proximity to the cable car will choose the gondola as its number one mobility option. 

The US$73 million (COP 240 billion) system is expected to reduce travels by up to 50 minutes. Previously, commuters spent up to 1 hour travelling on congested buses and winding roads but the cable car will cut journey times to just 13 minutes! As the cable car is directly linked to the city’s famous BRT system, the TransMilenio, passengers can transfer from the Portal of the Tunnel station and travel with ease into the city center. 

With a capacity of 3,600 pphpd, the TransMiCable is built with one of the highest capacities for an urban gondola. Compared to other commuter ropeways, only the Purple Line and the Blue Line Sky in La Paz, Bolivia have a larger capacity at 4,000 pphpd. The system has 163 10-person cabins built with folding seats. This allows passengers to easily bring in baby strollers, bicycles and wheelchairs. The cabins also have solar panels, which help power security cameras and telecommunication systems.

The cable car offered free rides for two days before beginning commercial operations on December 29, 2018. Image by Kienyke.

The cable car will operate for nearly 18 hours per day from 4:30am to 10:00pm between Mondays – Saturday and 5:30am – 9:30pm on Sundays/Hoildays. Image by IDIPRON.

Not so dissimilar to the other urban gondolas in Latin America, the cable lift has been constructed as part of a larger social redevelopment project. Stations are not merely utilitarian stations built for transport, rather they are designed with gardens, parks, public squares and libraries.

To be able to integrate the system into the daily life of the locals, the project spent a considerable amount of time educating residents about the benefits of the cable car. Officials reached out to a more than 19,000 students as part of large-scale stakeholder engagement sessions.

Priced at only US $0.70 (COP 2300) — the same cost as a TransMilenio ticket — the system is meant to be affordable to all users. Transfers between the bus system and the cable car will be free except for riders transferring from a zone blue line. To make the system even more accessible, users with the Tullave smart card are eligible for even more discounts.

Overall, the TransMiCable builds on the success of the other urban ropeways in Colombia and Latin America. Domestically, Bogota becomes the fourth Colombian city to construct an urban gondola after Cali, Manizales and Medellin. Within Latin America, TransMiCable is now the 23rd line in the region!

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