Airport gondola could solve Queenstown traffic issues

Queenstown's Skyline gondola could be joined by another running from Queenstown Airport into central Queenstown.
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Queenstown's Skyline gondola could be joined by another running from Queenstown Airport into central Queenstown.

A gondola running from the airport into central Queenstown is on a list of options being considered to cope with the resort's transports woes.

Queenstown Lakes District Councillor Alexa Forbes confirmed the idea had made a "long list" of options being considered as a way to ease traffic congestion.

"It made the list and work is being done," she said. "There will be investigations into it."

It was unclear where exactly the gondola would run but Forbes dismissed talk it would go along the Queenstown Hill ridge line.

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A figure had been aligned with the idea but Forbes was not at liberty to disclose it.

A Doppelmayr gondola system cost between about $3 million and $12m per 1.5 kilometres, CNN reported in 2014, and a 2015 proposal for a 9.8km gondola from Remarkables Park Town Centre to the Remarkables Ski Area was valued at $50m.

The distance between Queenstown Airport and central Queenstown was about 8km.

It was far more cost effective than a monorail, an idea that did not make the long list, Forbes said.

Some Doppelmayr's could move 5000 people per hour at about 30kmh.

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"That's faster than you move down Frankton Rd sometimes."

The idea of a gondola "came out" at an integrated transport planning meeting and about a dozen ideas were on the long list including bus and ferry options.

Gondolas were becoming a more common mode of transport in some South American cities, Forbes said, and she would research them on a trip to the continent later in the year. The trip would be at her own expense.

She was excited at the prospect.

"There's real potential there.

"I don't know where it [the idea] will go and if it will get there [but] I think it would be remiss if we didn't consider it."

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult said he was in favour of any innovative transport solutions and would consider all ideas.

Queenstown Airport spokeswoman Jen Andrews said they had not been made aware of the gondola idea but were "always interested" in hearing about these types of proposals.

Downtown QT manager Steve Wilde has been approached for comment.

Earlier this month the council, along with the Otago Regional Council, announced new bus routes and $2 fare proposals for Queenstown.

 - Stuff

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