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transport, téléphérique urbain Saint-Denis, La Réunion
After supporting the creation of urban cable cars in Colombia and the Dominican Republic, Agence Française de Développement is backing the deployment of this type of transportation in Saint-Denis on Reunion Island. The first cable car line for an overseas province is scheduled to open in late 2019 to provide an alternative to polluting vehicles and a way to foster social inclusion.

Slowly but surely, cable cars are taking to the air over big cities. After Grenoble, Medellin (Colombia) and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), transportation by overhead cable will soon be coming to Saint-Denis on Reunion Island.

Located at the north end of the island and built on mountain slopes, this city with a population of 150,000 is currently under “all car” pressure that has led to roadway saturation in the past few years. Eager to develop an alternative transportation offer for local residents, the Communauté d’Agglomération de la Zone Nord (CINOR), which is the public transportation authority, decided on a cable car system.

For a city like Saint-Denis, this means of transportation has many advantages. It is able to transport up to 1,000 people per hour over substantial differences in altitude between neighborhoods, without adding to crowds on the streets or generating atmospheric pollution.

A Reunion-style “Metrocable”

Following advice from Agence Française de Développement (AFD), CINOR traveled to Medellin in 2013 to visit the local “Metrocable”. A feasibility study was then carried out in Saint-Denis. The project, which is a first for France’s overseas provinces, was officially launched in 2016.

For funding, the Communauté de Communes (joint local authority) benefited from a 12-million-euro public sector green loan from AFD. Total project cost is nearly 54 million euros.
Good for the climate and socially inclusive, this project falls under AFD’s “100% Paris Agreement” and “100% Social Ties” commitments.

More dynamic neighborhoods

Scheduled for late 2019, this cable line will provide service to neighborhoods on the slopes and heights of Saint-Denis, which are heavily populated and currently have poor access to public transportation. It will be connected to the existing bus network. 

Covering a distance of 2.7 kilometers, the overhead line will link the neighborhoods of Le Chaudron and Bois-de-Nèfles in 14 minutes. The 46 cars will each have seating for 10 and are designed to transport approximately 6,000 travelers per day, according to local authorities.

There will be five stations. They will be located in strategic, heavily traveled areas like Le Chaudron Mall, the university campus, the library, the middle school, and the high school. They will combine the functionality of traditional stations with activity areas. CINOR hopes to attract new services and businesses to these areas that will boost economic dynamics  in the neighborhoods.

A second line under study

Work will be carried out by Poma, a French group that will also run the line, and will start in late 2018. The Communauté de Communes is now studying the possibility of creating a second cable car line that will link La Montagne—a neighborhood that can currently be reached only by a very steep road—to the Saint-Denis city center. For redesigning a transportation plan, there’s nothing better than a bird’s eye view!