Cable car project would connect Quito to Tababela airport; $236 million plan would be a private – public partnership

Jan 22, 2014

Quito Deputy Mayor Jorge Albán announced Tuesday an ambitious plan to construct a cable car system conntecting Quito and the new airport in Tababela.

Albán calls the project a private – public partnership but offered few details about how the financial arrangement would work. The cable car would be known as Metroférico.

The project, proposed by the Quito transportation company Aerometro, would carry 4,000 in 170 cable cars a day from the subway station at Bicentennial Park in North Quito to the new airport, a distance of 14.5 kilometers. Each car would have the capacity of 25 people, with extra space for luggage. The project is estimated to cost $236 million and take more than two years to construct. The cost, according to Albán, is a fraction of what a road or land-based train would cost.

According to Albán, the project will go out on public bid but it is unlikely that another bidder would challenge Aerometro, who developed the plan. Bidding will open in March or April with the city awarding the contract in May, according to Albán. Work could start in six to seven months, he said.

The project will be constructed in two phases, the first beginning at the new airport and the second connecting the line to Bicentennial Park, located at the old airport in Quito.

If the project gets off the ground, it would shorten travel time from Quito to the new airport from as much as two hours, to 20 minutes. One of the major criticisms of the new airport’s location at Tababela is the travel time between the airport and Quito.

A political critic of Albán’s, Juan Ruiz, says the cable car is a publicity stunt that will never happen. “This campaign season,” Ruiz says. “The mayor is looking for political capital, but I predict that this project will never be a reality.”