Although the operationalization of cable cars drums like ‘a dream never come true’ to many Ugandans, experts implementing non-motorised transport systems such as urban ropeways (cable cars) say, the project is feasible and cost effective for Kampala compared to any other means of transport.
Dr Jürgen Perschon, the executive director of European Institute for Sustainable Transport (Eurist), a German based non-profit organisation, said the Kampala setting –characterised with dense population, limited space for road network expansion, the only option that can decongest and ease traffic flow in the Central Business District is developing ropeways networks.
“Unlike other proposed transport systems such as Bus Rapid Transport, Trams and railways that require space for expansion, the cable cars are independent from the existing infrastructure and traffic. The system requires very little urban space and can therefore access high-densely areas, which other transport means can’t,” he explains.
He says there are three categories of the urban ropeways network options; the Extension, the Outer ring and the Amphitheater network. But for Kampala setting, he recommends the latter because it’s simplest and requires one big station in the city centre.
“Simply speaking, cable-propelled transit technology is less motorised, requires no engine vehicles, making it more affordable to both environment and space utilization in cities like Kampala,” he says.
Cable cars system does not require huge space compared to railway or road expansion, space for loading, Mr Perschon says – only space for the offloading and on loading stations and space for cable car poles is required.
Last week city councilors asked KCCA executive director, Jennifer Musisi to abandon the cable cars idea – saying it was not feasible and that the authority should invest in transport means such as railway line and BRT system.
Mr Perschon however, explained that urban ropeways once rolled out in Kampala, can cut out over 100 buses (each with 50 commuters) or 2000 private cars (each with 3 passengers) accessing the CBD.
Mr Patrick Kayemba, the executive director of First African Bicycle Information Organisation (FABIO), a non-governmental organisation in a fordable transport, says the cable car experience will save the public of resources, pollution and time wastage.
He says depending on the technicalities and distance involved from one point to another, which will be determined after the ongoing feasibility study in Kampala, traffic will be cut and Kampala dwellers will save more.
“Travelling and waiting time from one point to another will lessen to one minute including loading and offloading, it will lead to increased revenue collection for the city authorities and save the city of the traffic jam puzzle,” Mr Kayemba said, adding, “One Gondola (carriage wagon) attached to the moving cable and making a turnaround trip from one station to another, can ferry over 6000 people in an hour.”
According to KCCA, the first pilot cable car corridor project will run from Makindye division headquarters to Old Park and the second one will operate from Bwaise to the new taxi park.
About cable cars
These are cable propelled transit technology which moves people in motor or engine less vehicles that are propelled by a steel cable (or rope).
They use electricity, which in most cases is supported by two standby strong generators in case of power outages. The cable wagons are still – meaning they don’t move but are attached to a steel rope that keeps moving from one point to the other, thus reducing friction and heat accumulation in the system.