Bishkek Cable Car Plan Gets Mixed Reaction

Illustrative photo: www.bartholet.swiss

The Bishkek municipality’s plan to build a cable car line to solve transport problems in Kyrgyzstan’s capital has received a mixed response from the city residents. Many believe the proposed project is too expensive and will not achieve the declared goal of providing comfortable transport options.

In January, the Mayor of Bishkek, Aibek Junushaliev visited Switzerland to meet with Roland Bartholet, CEO of the engineering company, Bartholet Maschinenbau AG, with the parties signing an agreement and approving a plan to build a cable car line in Bishkek.

Bishkek’s Deputy Mayor, Maksatbek Sazykulov said this week that the project’s designer is expected to arrive from Switzerland late in February, that construction may begin in May or June, and the line could be in operation in the third quarter of 2025. According to the deputy mayor, the line is planned to stretch for six kilometers from north to south along a major central avenue, have five stations and 65 cars, and a daily capacity of up to 100,000 passengers. The approximate cost of the project is $50m-$60m.

Bishkek City Council member, Kadyrbek Atambayev, believes the project to build a cable car line leaves many unanswered questions. “Cable cars are usually used in areas with very rough terrain, where other modes of transport cannot function effectively. In our case, in the absence of significant natural obstacles or large water barriers inside the city, the use of a cable car line does not provide significant advantages over existing types of urban transport,” Atambayev wrote on Facebook.

Atambayev stated that the cost of construction and maintenance of the cable car line significantly exceeds the cost for city buses. “Six kilometers of cable line [would] cost of up to $60m… $100m allowed Bishkek to purchase 1,000 buses last year,” he stated.

The city of Bishkek’s press service earlier called the cable line project an important step in the modernization of urban infrastructure aimed at providing comfortable transport options for the people of the city.

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Times of Central Asia