Of course, one of the first questions posed to the mayor: Would the PSG project be part of that?
No. In the mayor’s eyes, the PSG ropeway is an entirely private endeavour. It is not, in his eyes, a public-private partnership.
But, in the wake of the TransEd mess, will the public see it that way? After all, PSG officials told the Committee that there would be some integration with the transit system. There would be separate fares, but there could be shared use of transit cards. After all, PSG needs to know where the riders are coming from to police its tiered fare system.
Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, PSG’s CEO and president, said that in-town users, who would be using the gondola for commutes, would be charged $2 a ride. But out-of-town users looking for an experiential ride across the river valley, they’d be paying $25 each.
That’s right, more than 12 times the difference between in-towners and out-of-towners. Chief strategy officer Bob Black said PSG will install speakers in the cabs, where riders will hear about the Indigenous history in the region. It’s clear that there will be a tourism component to this.
Proponents of the plan made sure to mention other cities that were building or had built gondolas. Mexico City! Paris! La Paz! Bogota! The most suitable comparable may be the The Portland Aerial Tram. According to City of Portland stats, it transports 9,000 rides on the average weekday, with 15 per cent of those rides coming from tourists.
“We do not underestimate there is still a lot to be done,” said Black. “Our team is willing to invest millions of dollars in what we know will be a multi-jurisdictional regulatory process.”