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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an urban gondola?

An urban gondola is a ropeway system constructed to transport passengers within a city. A gondola system is composed of stations, propulsion, cable, grips, cabs, and towers. Stations provide areas for passengers to purchase tickets, board, and disembark. They also provide a place for gondolas to make turns. The cable supports the gondolas from above. The gondolas are attached to the cable using a grip. Propulsion for the system is provided via electric motors. Towers support the cable, and maintain the height and pathway of the gondola system. There are more than 150 urban gondola projects in development around the world now, many in Canada and the USA.

Why an urban gondola in our city?

Edmonton is the second youngest city in Canada and its population is predicted to increase by 40% over the next twenty years. 2015 City of Edmonton census data shows that 136,000 cars per day travel over the downtown bridges. The average commute time from Whyte Ave. to Downtown is 20 minutes and increasing. An investment in a gondola system could change that. As stated in the Edmonton Transit Advisory Board report: “Urban gondolas are highly versatile mass transit solutions that provide fast, reliable, safe, fully accessible and cost-effective transportation into even the most geographically challenging areas. As Edmonton grapples with how to increase transport capacity across our river valley and better connect Downtown and Old Strathcona, a gondola is uniquely well-suited to provide this capacity."

Shouldn't we focus
on current transport-ation modes?

Connectivity is the key to the growth of any city. Prairie Sky Gondola will provide a direct connection between Downtown, West Rossdale, and Old Strathcona. This in turn will alleviate current congestion, and reduce the load on our downtown bridges thereby helping to extend the length of time they can be used. Prairie Sky Gondola is a complementary form of transportation and will work in conjunction with existing modes of transportation to move our city both to and over the river. 

Does it work in Edmont-on’s climate?

Gondolas are built to operate in alpine regions. Gondolas can operate in extremely low temperatures, snow, rain, ice, and in wind speeds up to 90 km/h. When an area is hit by a natural disaster, gondola systems are often the first to become operational. For example, the Roosevelt Tram in New York City was the first piece of mass transit to be up and running after Hurricane Sandy.

Who's paying for it?

Prairie Sky Gondola is a private company taking all risk. There is no cost to taxpayers for construction, operation and maintenance of the gondola and the tax payer is not assuming any risk on behalf of Prairie Sky Gondola.

How much will it cost to ride?

Rates will vary to align with the nature of use and time of day. For example, an urban commuter will pay much less than a tourist on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Children under a certain age will ride for free if accompanied by an adult. Passes will be available for families, youth, seniors and others. 

Will it work with ETS?

Prairie Sky Gondola is in preliminary discussions with ETS regarding a master framework agreement to ensure mutual value is created and Edmontonians are better served.

 What’s the environ-ental impact?

The environmental footprint to construct a gondola system is minimal compared to other forms of infrastructure used to cross rivers. The towers, gondolas and other components are built in advance. The space required for the towers is small. The width of our river valley allows for towers to be placed on either side preventing the need for the river to be disrupted. The operation of gondola systems uses the least amount of energy and has the lowest emissions of any form of mass transit. Gondola systems can utilize solar energy to power comforts such as AC and Wifi.

Is it noisy?

Gondola are extremely quiet because they operate as a system versus individual pieces of machinery. More noise is heard from cars, trucks and motorcycles on roadways than a gondola system.

What happens if it breaks down?

Gondola systems have been in existence for over 100 years and are one of the world’s safest forms of transportation. Systems are created with multiple redundancies and egress options. If a power loss occurs, there are diesel back-up engines to keep the system moving much like emergency generators in a hospital. In the extremely rare event of a system failure, trained professionals are in place to safely evacuate passengers. 

What is the proposed route?

The proposed route is a 2.5 km alignment from Downtown, to West Rossdale, and over the river to Old Strathcona.

How long does the trip take?

Prairie Sky Gondola is your direct connection between Downtown, West Rossdale, and Old Strathcona. The 2.5 km trip including a stop in West Rossdale can be completed in under 10 minutes. Each segment will take about 2 minutes.

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