The world’s largest gondola-based public transit network, Mi Teleférico “My Cable,” announced on social media this week it has ordered a 9th gondola from Doppelmayr for delivery in 2019. The Linea Plateada (Silver Line) will connect the existing Yellow/Red and under construction Purple/Blue lines in Bolivia’s capitol city of La Paz. When complete, it will connect nine separate lines and 42 miles of cable together for the first time.
The brainchild of President Evo Morales, Bolivia went all-in on gondolas in 2012, ordering three lines (with 4 haul ropes, 11 stations and 450 cabins) for phase one. The experiment proved wildly successful, offering safe, clean and reliable transport to the masses in La Paz and neighboring El Alto. Less than two months after the first gondola opened, President Morales announced construction of five additional lines on July 1, 2015.
Not many public transit systems are as revered as this one, which has more than 160,000 likes on Facebook (the largest subway system in the world, New York’s MTA, has just 50,000.) Mi Teleférico’s slogan is Uniting Our Lives and it serves more than 100,000 passengers every weekday. For 40 cents a trip, riders even get free wi-fi.
The Silver Line will take six months to design and will add between 90 and 98 cabins to a system with 1,450 10-passenger cabins operating on ten separate haul ropes. The new line will take less than 24 months to build at a cost of $56-60 million. Meanwhile, construction on the Blue Line is already about 50 percent complete and the White Line is more than 80 percent finished with cabins arriving from Switzerland. Mi Teleférico and Doppelmayr Bolivia plan to open a new gondola every six months for the next three years. And that’s just phase two.