New horizons for the people in the favela

Ropeway in Columbia significantly improves living conditions

Ropeway in the Columbian metropolis of Cali

In the Columbian metropolis of Cali, a new ropeway from LEITNER ropeways has connected Siloé, one of the city’s poorest districts, to the public transport network since September 2015. The journey now only takes nine minutes instead of a good three-quarters of an hour, as it did previously. This makes it much easier for inhabitants to reach workplaces and schools, which in turn improves their living conditions. The poor infrastructure in the district and the city’s vertical distances previously posed both a transportation and a social problem. Cali’s Mayor Rodrigo Guerrero Velasco is satisfied with the new ropeway: „Sometimes there are queues of 100 people in the stations. But people can immediately enter the cabins and are very pleased.” 

They are glad about this fast and very useful means of transport. The 120,000 inhabitants of Siloé, a hilly suburb with very poor infrastructure that has no streets at all in some areas, are being given much better access to the center thanks to the new “Miocable” gondola lift. The district, hit hard by poverty and violence, was cut off from city life due to the inadequate connection. By ropeway, travel time to the central bus station at the “Cañaveralejo” stop is reduced by about 35 minutes. From there, passengers have direct access to Cali’s public transport system. Cali is Columbia’s third largest city with around two million inhabitants. The journey out of the favela Siloé and access to workplaces and educational establishments have therefore been made significantly easier for the inhabitants of the poor district. This should give young people better prospects for the future in particular. The project cost around EUR 30 million and was paid for with public funds. The operator is the public transport company Mio.

LEITNER ropeways has already built several successful urban ropeways in Latin America in particular, including the Metrocable in the Columbian city of Manizales, which was an important reference for Cali. The new installation in Siloé is the sixth urban ropeway built by the company in the country and highlights its pioneering role in this area. The benefits of using ropeways in urban locations are numerous. They require little space, climb considerable vertical distances with ease, and can be operated by a very small team of personnel. They use a single drive system to run and there is no risk of collision with other means of transport. Apart from all the technical benefits, the social aspects are particularly important in Cali – a long-term improvement in people’s living conditions.

The ropeway in Cali is 6,683 feet long, climbs a vertical distance of 699 feet with 14 support towers, and connects Siloé to the bus station. The two middle stations “Tierra Blanca” and “Lleras Camargo” are situated between the bus station and the end station “Brisas de Mayo” in Siloé. As the ropeway runs continuously, with one cabin always following the other, passengers have hardly any wait at all. The drive system and vehicle garage are at the valley station near the bus station. With 60 cabins holding 10 passengers each, the ropeway will reach a capacity of 2,000 people per hour in the first stage. In a second, expansion stage, the number of cabins will be increased by 30, enabling up to 3,000 people to be transported every hour.