By Charlotte Markham, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As of April 25th, the Complexo do Alemão teleférico (gondola) passed to new management and extended its current operating hours, which also now include Sundays and holidays. The responsibility for the cable car system, which since July 2011 has connected the Estação Bonsucesso railway station to the highest point of the hill, was transferred to the Rio Telefêricos company.
The cable car now runs from Monday to Friday from 6AM to 10PM (extended from 8PM), on Saturdays from 8AM to 8PM (extended from 6PM) and on Sundays and holidays from 7AM to 7PM.
According to government news sources, on May 1st, the first Sunday since the Rio Telefêricos consortium took over the operation of the cable car system, more than 3,500 passengers used the service.
Barbara Nascimento, 26, who lives in the Complexo do Alemão and attends college in the evening, the new time has helped return home at night. “I think it’s very cool this new schedule, as I go out late to college, I can go home without worrying,” she explained.
Osvaldo Medeiros, 66, recalled that it is not only the residents who use the service. He stated, “I think the expanded timetable hours are important, especially during the weekends and holidays because of the visitors and tourists.”
Comprised of 156 cabins, each with the capacity to carry ten people, the cable car system in Complexo de Alemão is the first mass transit system by cable in Brazil and is integrated into the railway network, through the Bomsucesso station. Authorities report that the total number of passengers that have used the cable car system exceeds thirteen million.
Similar cable car projects have also been introduced to other favela communities, such as in Providência, located in Cnetro Rio de Janeiro and considered the first favela founded in the city. There free trip runs 721 meters and serves nearly 5,000 residents of the community, however, it has been closed temporarily for maintenance.