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Maokong Gondola

Maokong Gondola

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{{Chinese |pic=MaokongCableCars.jpg |title=Maokong Gondola |t=貓空空中纜車 |s=猫空空中缆车 |l=Maokong Aerial Gondola |p=Māokōng Kōngzhōng Lànchē |tp=Maokong Kongjhong Lànche |w=Mao1-k'ung1 K'ung1-chung1 Lan4-ch'e1 |poj=Niau-khang Khong-tiong Lám-chhia |altname=Common name |t2=貓空纜車 |s2=猫空缆车 |l2=Maokong Gondola |p2=Māokōng Lànchē |tp2=Maokong Lànche |w2=Mao1-k'ung1 Lan4-ch'e1 |poj2=Niau-khang Lám-chhia }} The '''Maokong Gondola''' (貓空纜車) is a [[gondola lift]] transportation system in [[Taipei]], [[Taiwan]]. Opened on July 4, 2007, the Maokong Gondola runs between [[Taipei Zoo]] and [[Maokong]]. The {{convert|4.3|km|mi|abbr=on}} line has four stations. The facilities of the gondola were contracted to the French company [[Poma]]. ==Stations== [[File:TaipeiZooGondola.jpg|right|250px|thumb|The boarding area at Taipei Zoo station]] The line has four stations: (動物園站), outside the Taipei Zoo *''Corner One'' or ''Angle one'' (動物園內站), inside the Taipei Zoo *''Corner Two'' or ''Angle Two'' (指南宮站) ([[Sanxuan Temple]]) (貓空站) Passengers cannot embark or disembark at the corner ("angle") stations. On leaving Zhinan Temple or Maokong Stations, regular and frequent minibus services can ferry visitors to destinations around the Maokong area. Minibus services can also deliver passengers directly back to the Taipei Zoo [[Mass Rapid Transit|MRT]] station. ==Fares== When operating, the fares are based on the number of stations traveled: *1 Station NT$30 *2 Stations NT$40 *3 Stations NT$50 Concessional fares are available to disability and seniors aged over 65. *1 Station NT$15 *2 Stations NT$20 *3 Stations NT$25 Fares can be paid by either purchasing the tickets at the stations or using [[EasyCard]] or [[stored-value card]]. Each adult ticket can bring 2 children for free. Discounts are available for group travelling. Groups of 10 or above will receive 20% off their ticket price while groups of 40 or above will receive 30% off. Tourists can also purchase the Maokong Gondola version of the one-day TaipeiPass for unlimited rides on [[Taipei bus]]es and [[Taipei Rapid Transit System|MRTs]], and up to 3 gondola rides in one day. This special one-day [[TaipeiPass]] costs NT$250. ==Reported issues== [[File:GondolaView101.jpg|right|250px|thumb|View from the gondola; [[Taipei 101]] can be seen in the distance]] [[File:MaokongGondola.jpg|right|250px|thumb|Corner Two station and [[National Highway No. 3 (Taiwan)|National Highway No. 3]].]] [[File:Maokong aerial tramway.png|thumb|Maokong Gondola Route]] ===Safety concerns and repairs=== The system was closed for 16 months due to safety concerns and repair efforts. It has now been reopened as of April 2010. ===Ventilation problems=== Ventilation in each passenger cabin has been criticized as being inadequate so that passengers should be forewarned that the cabin may become extremely hot and humid, especially in the midday sun. This has been largely mentioned when the Maokong Gondola began operating with several "halts" during service hours, trapping the mid-day heat within the cabins. Recommendations have been made to equip cable cars with solar panels to generate power for ventilation or fans. ===Service interruptions and technical problems === On the first day of operation, a faulty door lock left Mayor [[Hau Lung-pin]] and former Mayor [[Ma Ying-jeou]] suspended for 10 minutes in mid-air. Later, bad weather had also caused operations to shut down a few times. Violent thunderstorms returned the next day and operation was suspended for a few hours. At 4:50 p.m. on July 21, 2007, the service on the gondola system was suspended for approximately 2 hours due to a mechanical glitch, trapping 323 people on the cable cars. The evacuation took place from 5:50 p.m. through 6:55 p.m. TRTS personnel reimbursed passengers by giving them [[New Taiwan Dollar|NT]]$1,058 and free [[Ticket (admission)|tickets]] worth NT$100 each. The system resumed normal operations at noon the following day. On July 24, 2007, the service on the gondola system was suspended twice. Service was suspended at noon for around two hours due to a [[thunderstorm]], and again at 3:10 p.m. due to mechanical problems. No passengers were trapped on the gondola cars. [[Consumers' Foundation, Taiwan]] recommended that the Maokong Gondola should shut down completely, and only re-open after evaluating and repairing all systems. Originally the Maokong Gondola was closed to public every Monday for maintenance servicing, in accordance to an agreement with [[Taipei City Hall]]. In July 2008, a full week of maintenance was also done. On October 2, 2008 the Maokong Gondola was closed pending structural repair after mudslides left a 2.5 meter gap beneath a support pillar. ===Environmental concerns=== Local environmental protection groups such as Green Party Taiwan and Homemaker's Union have discouraged people from using the gondola lift. Local residents have complained about excessive noise during operation, increased garbage and the danger of mudslides. Tests conducted by the [[Environmental Protection Administration]] under the Executive Yuan and the TCG Department of Environmental Protection have shown that noise levels are within regulations. To mitigate environmental damage, construction pillars and excavation were minimized. On November 2, 2008, concerns were legitimized when a mudslide and earthquake eroded pillar T16, which now hung 2.5 meters above ground. Since then the system has been closed pending repairs. It is set to reopen before April 2010 after inspectors found that the design, construction method, and engineering quality all met with requirements. ===Typhoon Jangmi and erosion of pillar foundation === Rains associated with [[Typhoon Jangmi (2008)|Typhoon Jangmi]] caused erosion around a pillar on the Corner 2 Station. As a result on 1 October 2008 operations of the Gondola were suspended for one month to allow a full safety inspection to be carried out. On December 1, investigators recommended the relocation of pillar T16, the foundation of which had been eroded by the rainfall of four typhoons and was very unlikely to withstand future earthquakes. Relocating T16 and neighboring pillars took two years. The gondola officially resumed service as of March 31, 2010, after relocation of the pillar and passing safety inspections. ==Crystal cabins== Since March 30, 2010, 30 cabins have been retrofitted with 48mm thick glass bottoms. They operate with a service interval of three minutes. The capacity is limited to five persons per cabin. Crystal cabins, also called “Eyes of Maokong Gondola”, have their own waiting queue and a computer managed ticketing system, instructing passengers to enter the queue at a specified time. Currently, the price for crystal cabins is the same as for regular ones. The cost of each cabin modification was NT$ 200,000. ==External links== *[http://www.trtc.com.tw/e/contact.asp?catid=專案&small=貓空纜車 Maokong official tourism website] {{en icon}} *[http://gondola.trtc.com.tw/eng/index.htm Maokong Gondola] {{en icon}} *[http://www.ettoday.com/2007/07/23/301-2130300.htm Maokong Gondola, Mayor Ma's Proudest City Project, Suffers 55 Glitches in 11 Days] {{TRTS Maokong Gondola}} {{coord missing|Taiwan}}