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article imageWorld's highest cable car network opens in Bolivia (Video)

By Anne Sewell     May 31, 2014 in World
La Paz - Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated the first segment of the world's highest cable car network Friday, which will take passengers from La Paz to nearby El Alto, at a height of up to 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) above sea level.
Built by an Austrian company, Doppelmayr, the cable car line travels through the Andes mountains and offers stunning views of the Illimani, one of Bolivia's highest peaks.
The line, which cost $234 million, allows passengers to travel between La Paz and El Alto in less than 10 minutes, as compared to the road trip time of 30 minutes.
"It is a joy that this cable car line is finished," Morales said at the inauguration ceremony in La Paz.
"It's important work for the residents of La Paz."
The city of La Paz is the highest capital in the world and is located at an altitude of 3,660 meters, making the cable car network a welcome sight indeed for all concerned.
Illimani peak in Bolivia.
Illimani peak in Bolivia.
Olpa
Long lines of people queued at both ends of the network, excited for their first ride.
One of the first passengers was 25-year-old Jorge Villena, who told AFP, "It's awesome: the quiet, the view, the Illimani. It's perfect."
Another passenger, Lidia Gutierrez told Reuters, "I already went for a ride. The cable car arrives at El Alto in less than 10 minutes. I'm very excited. Our city of La Paz looks beautiful, the mountain illuminates, the snow. I'm very excited."
Once complete, the cable car line will stretch almost 10 kilometers (six miles). The completed first section is 2.6 kilometers long will be joined by a second segment of 7.3 kilometers by the end of this year.
According to EFE, around 1,000 people, mostly Bolivians but some from other countries, were involved in the first construction phase, started just over a year ago.
The cable cars will run 17 hours a day, 360 days of the year and according to projections, will be able to transport up to 18,000 people an hour, at a cost of three bolivianos ($0.43) per person. Eventually the system will consist of 11 stations, 443 10-person cabins and three lines.
According to the state-run Mi Teleferico company which will operate the cable car network, La Paz and El Alto "are among the first 10 cities in the world with an inter-city transport system by cable."
At present, the only other cable car system running in the country is in Cochabamba in the center of Bolivia and is designed for tourist use.
More about Bolivia, cable car network, world's highest, La Paz, El Alto
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