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On the 2nd anniversary of La Paz, Bolivia’s gondola system they shared some numbers. And they’re amazing (quoted from the article, emphasis mine):

  • 43,248,826 passenger trips between May 29, 2014 to March 31, 2016 (22 months)
  • ~60,000 riders per day with a daily network record ridership of 162,465
  • At 10km (3 lines), it would be tied with the Newark Light Rail as one of America’s shortest American rapid transit lines.
  • However, it transports more daily passengers than 72% (26) of Light Rail Transit/Streetcar systems in the US
    6,500 daily boardings per kilometre. In comparison, this mean that Mi Teleférico’s average daily boardings per kilometre is 17% greater than the highest average daily boardings per kilometre for LRTs in the US (Boston’s MBTA light rail: 5,368)
  • 99.3% availability (Red Line: 99.4%, Yellow Line: 99.2%, Green Line: 99.3%)
  • 2 accidents on cable car (due to falling tree and user behaviour) vs. 9,181 traffic accidents in La Paz (2015)
  • >100% farebox recovery ratio / 0% subsidy. Median farebox recovery ratio in US stands at ~35%
  • ~US$21 million in revenue (Bs150 million)
  • ~US$500,000 in tax contributions (Bs3.6 million)
  • ~US$1.3 million in advertising revenue (Bs8.9million)
  • 1397 direct jobs generated
  • 4899 indirect jobs generated
  • Time Savings: 1,200 years (2015)

The city is planning to expand from 3 gondola lines to 10.

7 Replies to “La Paz Gondola’s Amazing Numbers”

  1. Wow, very impressive. Given the density in the heart of the city (and traffic that I would imagine makes our traffic seem like a walk in the park) we can’t expect those kind of numbers. But this is an obvious success, and we should seriously consider emulating it. At the very least we should connect South Lake Union to Capitol Hill — two fairly dense areas cut off from each other by bad traffic most of the day.

      1. I suggested a gondola to West Seattle here a couple years ago, and someone pointed out that the cable would be going right across the Port of Seattle’s main shipping channel. Which’s too bad – otherwise, I still think it would’ve been a great idea.

        Ballard-UW is different, because it’s long enough that the slower speed of a gondola would become rather significant. d.p. pointed out, with numbers, that Seattle Center – Capitol Hill is already pushing it.

        My three favorite gondola locations are Seattle Center – SLU – Capitol Hill, and James St (waterfront to Broadway).

      2. If we’re going to WS, it would probably be better to bring it to SODO station.

        Ballard-UW is certainly slower than a subway, but depending on the frequency of the subway may be close to competitive.

        Anyway, I’m not arguing to replace ST3 with gondolas. And I think it works best to extend rail stations. But it may be a quick way to serve the city if ST3 fails.

      3. There aren’t too many gondolas in the U. S. Because of that, there is great political risk in proposing it. The opposite is true with streetcars and light rail, which explains why the city has so many of both in areas where they are obviously inappropriate. While some of the ideas for a gondola have merit, it makes sense to build the first one where it will be the most popular (assuming there aren’t particular difficulties to deal with). Capitol Hill to South Lake is that place, and nothing else comes close. West Seattle to SoDo sounds nice (I would take it on occasion) but neither destination is hugely popular, and it is only faster via the gondola early in the morning (and in one direction). Capitol Hill to South Lake Union would be popular and faster all day long. Gondolas are similar to ferries — they make sense in areas where you can take a shortcut and connect popular areas. Unfortunately, I don’t see that for West Seattle. A line from South Seattle College to Georgetown might make sense (assuming crossing the Duwamish is not a big deal) but I doubt there would be enough riders for that to be very popular (even if you connected the two campuses).

        If ST3 fails, West Seattle needs improvements to the freeway (ramp meters and possibly new ramps and lanes) as well as better frequency on the ferry. If ST3 passes they need the same thing (but probably won’t get it).

      4. Due to the very steep hill something from Pioneer Square station to Broadway might work, especially if there is a stop at Harborview. Not as knock it out of the park as SLU/Capitol Hill but might be easier to site and should have a reasonable amount of traffic.The very short distance involved also works in the Gondola’s favor as that should keep cost low.

      5. A Jefferson St. route from PSQ > Harborview > Seattle U would be super cool. Cap Hill -> SLU -> SeaCenter is still the clear winner, tho.

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