Think cable cars, think winter sports in the snow-covered Alps. But France’s longest cable car, which has just opened to users, is not in what many would consider to be the mode of transport’s natural habitat.
The delayed 3km Téléo service opened in Toulouse on Friday, May 13th, 2022, two years later than scheduled because of Covid-19, and links the Oncopole, on one side of the Garonne, and the l’université des sciences et de médecine Paul-Sabatier, on the other.
It is expected to carry at least 8,000 passengers a day, up to 1,500 an hour in each direction. Journeys will take 10 minutes, and the 14 cars – designed by Paolo Pininfarina, the designer of Porsche and Maserati, and which can accommodate 35 people – will run every one-and-a-half minutes at peak times.
In comparison, travel between the two sites can take as long as 30 minutes on the roads in rush hour. Even during quieter periods, journey times in cars is 11 minutes.
The project cost €82.4 million, more than had been anticipated because of objections to the original route, which would have had a station in front of the lycée Bellevue. But, thanks to its three-cable system, the service operate even in high winds. It has been designed to run even when the autan wind – which can reach 108km/h – is blowing.
A telecar service was first planned in 1936, when Albert Bedouce, the city’s mayor, was the Minister of Public Works in Léon Blum’s first government. Plans were shelved at the outbreak of the Second World War.
The scheme was reopened in 2004. But, a lack of long-term support from elected officials meant work did not start until 2018.