The Mexicable, a seven-stop line that runs just over three miles through a furrow of poor hillside neighborhoods, is part of a growing constellation of cable cars around Latin America that links marginalized communities to their cities’ metropolitan hearts.
In Ecatepec, the largest and most dangerous municipality in the 21 million-strong expanse of greater Mexico City, the Mexicable has brought new visitors, shorter commutes, a burst of street art and a new sense of inclusion in city life, residents said.
“It’s great,” said Marco Antonio Gonzalez, who used to spend an hour in a cramped bus to get from his home in San Andres de la Canada, the Mexicable’s final stop, to his job at a warehouse in the center of Ecatepec. He now has a smooth, 17-minute cable ride over dun-colored rooftops, half-bald soccer pitches and narrow streets strung with glittery bunting.
The new transport system has made him proud. “People never build something as impressive as this in a neighborhood like ours,” he said.
Ecatepec stretches north from the tip of the capital’s subway network into steep hills where square cinder-block houses are stacked like Lego pieces. Many who use the cable car also catch a bus and then a subway to reach jobs — at restaurants, homes, offices or construction sites — in more affluent parts of town.
Nancy Montoya, a housekeeper who lives in Esperanza, near the sixth Mexicable stop, said she saved about two hours per day using the new system — time she spends doing homework with her children or buying groceries.
Over the past 12 years, gondola systems have been built in cities that include Cali and Medellin in Colombia; Caracas, Venezuela; La Paz, Bolivia; and Rio de Janeiro. There are plans to build systems in half a dozen other Latin American cities, according to the Gondola Project, which tracks cable car programs worldwide.
有纜車（cable car）協助穿越擁擠的交通，的確是通勤族（commuter）的一大福音。文中所提的埃卡堤佩（Ecatepec），因同時是治安極差的危險城市，擠公車遇扒手、遇搶司空見慣，因此，搭乘纜車（cable car rides）還可減少被搶機會，也算另一種福音。
cable car 一般指的是高空纜車（air cable car），例如一些滑雪勝地利用高空纜車將滑雪客送往高處。本文的墨西哥纜車也是，雖然它同時刺激了觀光，但主要功能是通勤纜車（commuter cable car），台灣的貓空纜車（Maokong Gondola）也是高空纜車，雖然也作運輸用，主要應是觀光纜車（tourist cable car）。
最知名的地面纜車非舊金山纜車系統（San Francisco Cable Cars）莫屬，它是行駛在馬路上的輕軌運輸系統（light rail transit），又稱叮噹車，因為每到街口，為提醒四周車輛與行人注意，司機會搖動銅鈴發出叮噹叮噹響聲得名，這種復古聲響常讓乘客興奮莫名，彼此相視而笑，連觀光客行人也跟著露出笑容，成為旅遊舊金山的獨特經驗。
What a Tangled Web We Weave旅途中恐怖又迷人的電線亂象
Among the more unnerving sights a traveler may come across in distant corners of the world are giant hairballs of wires, clumped at the tops of utility poles or hanging perilously from the sides of buildings.
They speak of the exuberant, confounding and sometimes dangerous disorder of a country free of the rules and regulations that make modern life safe.
For example, Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is famous for its buzzing, swirling, incomprehensible traffic. If you dare take your eyes off the road, a glance overhead will find a representation of this same tangled, heedless, even insouciant approach to life. One Vietnamese author wrote fancifully of the huge cobweb of electrical, telephone and cable-television wires covering the city.
Utilities in most developed countries don’t keep their overhead wiring tidy for tidiness’ sake; safety is on the line. A crazy tangle can make repairing faults difficult and dangerous, and wiring improvised by amateurs can be a serious fire hazard.
In July, the magazine invited its 138,000 readers to send in pictures of “the worst and most dangerous examples of electrical wiring from around the world.” Out of 500 submissions, it selected 12 to publish for readers to rank, each seeming more outrageous than the last.
One from Vietnam showed a “terrifying image of a hapless Vietnamese electrician, totally entangled in the cobweb of crossed wires and hanging above the street like a giant spider in a hard-hat,” wrote the magazine’s features editor, Vitali Vitaliev.
By a wide margin, the readers’ choice was a showy image from Madras, India, depicting a metered main power line tapped by “multiple bare, unterminated wires,” all loosely hung from a wood board that already bore the scorch marks of a fire.
Ross pointed out that the survey was hardly comprehensive: Which countries were included had less to do with where the wiring is wackiest than where engineers like to take vacations.
A case in point: One of the most eye-catching pictures, he said, came from St. Tropez, in the south of France.