SANTIAGO – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Thursday re-inaugurated the cable car service within Santiago’s Metropolitan Park, which is located on San Cristobal hill and serves as the capital’s green lung.
The aerial tramway was originally inaugurated in 1980 but had been out of service since 2009, when it was closed due to mechanical problems.
The new system consists of 46 state-of-the art cabins, each with a six-person seating capacity. Some of the cabins are equipped to accommodate people in wheelchairs or with baby carriages.
A total of 10 billion Chilean pesos (some $15 million) were invested to repair the system, which authorities say will transport some 1,000 passengers per hour.
The project was part of a larger program to expand and preserve green areas nationwide and make them available to Chilean citizens, Bachelet said.
“Our cities need these green lungs ... places of beauty, recreation, leisure. Today in the Metropolitan Park we’ve regained a history and a heritage that many of us have fond memories of,” said the president, who took a ride in one of the new cabins.
The 700-hectare (1,730-acre) Metropolitan Park, whose attractions include a zoo and two public swimming pools, is one of Latin America’s main urban parks.