A ride on a unique public transit system.
The Teléferico’s sky cars are tickets to views of natural beauty, vibrant city life, and the extremes of urban wealth and poverty. This innovative sky-metro system has the potential to change the way city of La Paz gets around.
Video: The Teléferico Yellow Line glides down from Estación Mirador to Sopocachi.
The Teléferico system in La Paz, Bolivia is a perfect transit match for this city-in-a-valley:
- no underground construction
- small tower footprints
- well-suited for flying over mountain sides and busy city streets.
At 3 Bolivianos per ride (about US$0.45), a trip is affordable. But a foray aboard a sky car also provides an amazing view that makes the ride worthwhile in and of itself.
The small network limits a ride’s utility. Currently there are only three lines serving La Paz. The red line doesn’t connect to the green and yellow. However, there are plans for six more cable lines. In the years to come, these Austrian-made skytrains could link the entire city in an impressive sky-bourne metro system.
The red line takes you from the old (and sadly defunct) train station to El Alto. It’s perfect for the journey to the Thursday/Sunday 16 de Julio market. The lines are long but move quickly.
The yellow line takes you from Sopocachi to a great view of La Paz and its mountain guardian Illimani. It also connects you with the green line.
The green line goes to the Zona Sur. I personally think the neighborhood at the end of this line is dull and suburban. If you like giant shopping malls, then this is the way. But from the sky cars you can could a good feel for wealth inequality in Bolivia.
Shacks and poverty surround the polluted La Paz River (seen here from a green line car).
At the same time, luxury McMansions fill the green line’s vista.
On our way home on the green line at dusk, we saw La Paz light up. Seeing the highway from Zona Sur illuminated below, I couldn’t help but think that the politically popular subsidies for noxious diesel fuel would limit the environmental impact of the Teléferico.
In the end, Mi Teléferico is innovative and optimistic. It may mitigate the wounds of respiratory illness and traffic accidents. I hope it continues to develop into a fully linked metro system that can give the people of La Paz a safe and clean alternative to fossil fuels. Viva el Teléferico.