13 March 2018

Cable cars as mass transit

Known as the Mexicable, the 3-mile, $90 million gondola system opened to great fanfare in late 2016, an ambitious effort to improve public transportation in this suburb of more than 1.6 million. Initially met with some doubts, it has since provided more than 5.5 million rides, with about 20,000 passenger trips on a typical weekday. It has also drawn praise for giving low-income workers better access to public transportation.

“They didn’t have enough roads to relieve the traffic,” said Victor Jasso, who directs the Mexicable. “There was no space for expanding the roadway. Making [bus-only lanes] was impossible. And building a subway? Also not a chance.”

That’s a marked departure from how gondolas have historically been used: climbing steep hills, as in Portland, Ore.; crossing bodies of water, like the Roosevelt Island Tram in New York City; or giving tourists a new perspective on a city, as they do in London.
More information at the Boston Globe, because Boston is considering a similar system.


  1. The city of Nashville, Tennessee, is currently struggling with transportation issues, and I wonder why we don't look to our own past. Similar gondolas once carried people across the now defunct Opryland theme park. They were fun to ride and I suspect would be a very popular way to get around.

  2. Walt Disney World is in the process of building one of these to facilitate access between parks and resorts unable to utilize the monorail system. It's been interesting to drive through on my commute home and see it's progress but I couldn't really imagine how it would work so thanks for posting this! I really hope it does help with the traffic in that area.

  3. There is currently a proposal for such a system here in our nation's capital. It would connect the DC Neighborhood of Georgetown (filled with many local shops, but famously difficult to access) with the Rosslyn Metro station on the Virginia side of the river. Details here.


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