By Michela DellaMonica, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — In the favela community of Morro da Providência, the long wait for the new cable car to open is now over, and the system has started to function just before the end of the World Cup. The project, which was completed back in May 2013, links Morro da Providência to Central do Brasil train station and the Cidade do Samba in Centro.
The Providência Gondola cable car is the second such system of its kind in Rio. It consists of sixteen operating gondolas with a capacity to transport a thousand people per hour along the 721-meter line, with the possibility to increase this number in the future. The full operational schedule is Monday to Friday from 6AM to 9PM, Saturdays from 7AM to 7PM, and Sundays and holidays from 9AM to 6PM, at no cost to the public.
At the inauguration on June 2nd, Rio governor Luiz Fernando Pezão said “The cable car is a tool of mobility for residents of Morro da Providência. The population of the community and the entire region will win big with the new venture.”
According to the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, the new service is a key element in the revitalization the Port Zone, as well as being a new tourist attraction for the city. “The community now has gained not only the facilitation of mobility, but also more [options] for tourism in the city. The cable car has a 360 degree view of the city,” he said.
Each gondola will take eight passengers seated and two standing, ten per ride. The trip will take a total of three minutes with the height of the last stop being 83 meters above sea level. The stations have attendants for information and guidance to the public for four available services provided by the city of Rio including stops to a family clinic, a pharmacy, an electronics store and a gym.
“With the new cable car system, residents will have more time to make connections at the top of the hill for buses and the metro,” according to Alberto Silva, director of the Urban Development Campaign for the Port of Rio, a project which consists of cleaning up the Saúde, Gamboa and Santo Cristo neighborhoods under the Porto Maravilha project.
Information cards and brochures on the cable car service will be distributed to five thousand residents this week. Among the rules are the ban of consumption of food and beverage, traveling shirtless, barefoot or wearing swimsuits.
A project surrounded by controversy costing upwards of R$75 million while also displacing many local families during construction. It is part of a larger effort called Programa Morar Carioca, which consists of projects to improve sanitation and repairing roads.
The 152 gondolas that go back and forth in the Complexo do Alemão favela range in its third year of operating this week. Viewed as a successful project by Rio city officials, the cable cars have transported over nine million passengers throughout these three years in its 3.5 kilometers of extension.
Ana Cristina da Silva, a resident of Olaria, a section of Complexo do Alemão, feels that this project has facilitated her daily routine. “Before the cable car was in place, I walked up and down the hills and it was very tiring. Today, I use the transportation system four times a day.”