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Prototype of the gondola system. Prototype of the gondola system.

Gondolas studied for public transit in DF

The system would match the subway's capacity at a much lower cost

Congested streets and hours-long commutes have become part of the daily life for many of the more than 20 million people living in Mexico City and its metropolitan area, but that may be part of the past if a proposal by the Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat (Seciti) gains traction.

The secretariat’s Personal Elevated Urban Transport system, or TUEP, offers a solution by getting public transportation off the ground — with gondolas.

“This public transportation system could be crucial in moving millions of people without great mobility issues. It would also give Mexico City a chance to be modernized, and to modernize public transportation,” said Seciti head René Drucker Colín.

Consisting of small, two-passenger gondolas running on an elevated, horizontal funicular, TUEP would be able to transport people at up to 20 kilometers per hour, moving up to 37 million people per year.

Stations would be spaced every 700 to 1,000 meters, with each line totaling between five and seven kilometers. The gondolas would operate at a height of six to eight meters, eliminating the need to remove trees.

“Users would be able to program their destination as they began their trip, adding autonomy to an already comfortable and efficient means of transportation,” explained the Mexican company that developed the system.

“Gondolas would move along the line at four meters per second, spaced every 10 meters. This means that every 2.5 seconds a gondola arrives at the station, matching the subway’s carrying capacity per kilometer,” explained TUEP designer Luis Rodolfo Zamorano Morfín.

With a similar carrying capacity, the cost of the innovative transport system is one-tenth of the cost of a subway line, while its maintenance would be 40% cheaper than that of the city’s Metrobus, and proposes the use of an energy-saving magnetic levitation system.

Drucker suggested a ticket price of 8 pesos, as the secretariat’s and the developers’ intention is for TUEP to be an affordable transportation alternative.

Drucker also said they are eager to install a test line to prove the functionality and feasibility of TUEP.

Seciti has invested 40 million pesos in the prototype. If it goes ahead, it would become the first of its kind in the world.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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