Metrocable - Reaching the least developed suburban areas of Medellín
Metrocable is a gondola lift system implemented by the City Council of Medellín, Colombia with the purpose of providing a complementary transportation service to that of Medellín's Metro. It was designed to reach some of the least developed suburban areas of Medellín.
Medellín is a city located in the Aburra Valley and it is therefore surrounded by hills. Many of those hills are home to underdeveloped barrios (comunas), which due to their location cannot be reached by Medellín's biggest mass transportation system Metro. Many of these barrios are in fact located in very steep grounds to the extent that not even a regular bus system could be either useful or commercially profitable.
The Metrocable system is a branch of Medellín's metro and it is managed by the corporation Metro of Medellín. The system consists of cable cars connected to a fixed cable through means of a grip. The haulage cable is pulled by large wheels allowing the cabins to move at an average speed of 10 miles per hour (16 km/h).
At the present time two lines have been built, the line J and line K. These lines currently serve the districts of Andalucia (K), Popular (K), Santo Domingo Savio (K), Juan XXIII (J), Vallejuelos (J) and La Aurora (J). The system has been received with enthusiasm by the locals.
A new "Metro Cable" line (line S) is expected to be inaugurated in 2009. A transfer station will be built at Santo Domingo Savio Station. This line will continue further uphill and will reach El Tambo in Arví park near Guarne.
It is also expected that this new line will help promote and develop tourism in the rural areas around Lake Guarne. It will take 14 minutes to ascend to El Tambo and there will be no intermediate stations.
Aerial tramways are not often used as a mass transportation system, although they can be used as such. Examples include the many cable cars in skiing regions, the Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York, a similar system providing a complementary transportation service to the Caracas Metro or the cable car to the world's largest statue of Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong.
One of the disadvantages of trams is the risk of power outages. In case of a hazard or an emergency it is not possible to exit the cabins. Medellín metro is ameliorating this problem by providing a communication system in every tram should an emergency occur [Wikipedia.org]