By Alexander Britell
One of the most innovative urban projects in the Caribbean is soon coming to fruition.
It’s called the Teleferico de Santo Domingo, and it’s the region’s first-ever urban cable car system.
The project, which has become famous in other cities in Latin America like La Paz, Bolivia, will be a game-changing addition for a city in need of more public transport.
But, as in cities like La Paz, the cable car system could also become a serious tourist attraction — a way to see the city from a very different angle — above.
The system could begin its first operations as soon as May, according to a statement from the Dominican Republic’s Office of the Presidency.
The Teleferico will operate on a five-kilometer route serving the Ozama River and the city’s National District, along with the municipalities of Santo Domingo North and Santo Domingo East.
It will feature 215 cars and 36 towers, with each cabin holding capacity for 10 people.
The Teleferico will transport up to 3,000 passengers per hour per direction, at a speed of about 18 kilometers per hour.
Around 83 percent of the population of Santo Domingo is reliant on public transport, wth the new system expected to cut 20 minutes off of the average commute.
The elevated system will be operate with wind speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour.
The system will also integrate with the city’s metro and bus system on a single ticket.
It’s another boon for what has become one of the most modern cities in the Caribbean (the city also has the region’s only metro network) and one of the Dominican Republic’s emerging tourism destinations.
While cable cars are not new to the Caribbean (indeed, the cable car in Puerto Plata is one of that tourism hub’s most popular attractions), this is the first time the region has seen a cable car system on this scale in a major city.
It could become a model for other urban centers in the Caribbean, an eco-friendly, quiet, congestion-reducing solution to the region’s traffic woes.