Crossing the city, mountain and river

Already three years ago, the German fede- ral city of Bonn commissioned a feasibility study for a cableway to the Venusberg hill. The result? A cableway between the Bonn University Clinic and the S-Bahn station Ramersdorf on the other bank of the Rhine is both technically feasible and sensible in terms of the city’s transport policy. While a comprehensive analysis is being performed, associations and citizens’ initiatives are quarreling about the project.

A cable car station should open up Bonn’s uN campus. Photo: Adobe Stock


According to the feasibility study, the cableway should head from the Uni- versity Clinic grounds up to Venusberg, cross the city forest, turn right, pass a school, proceed to the German railway station UN Campus and open up the work center in the former government district. An extension across the Rhine with a connection to the future S-Bahn station Ramersdorf (S13) is also possible.


The total length of the preferred north route: 4.3 kilometers with five stations and some 24 support pillars. The 10-seater circulating mono-cable car could transport 12,000 passengers per day. A cabin could “take o ” every 30 seconds. The study predicts around 7,000 passengers but with a mobility management of the University Clinic, this number could grow up to 9,400 passengers per day.


At a speed of 6 meters per second, the travel time would be between 12 and 15 minutes. The cable car could reduce road traffic on the major “north route” by 8 percent (1,700 daily rides); with an adjustment of mobil- ity management, it could be even 20 percent (4,100 rides). A comparable, approx. 10-kilometer-long car route from Beuel to Venusberg takes some 20 minutes at an average speed of 30 kilometers per hour outside peak hours.


The cableway would be integrated into the local public transport network and could be used with a valid pub- lic transport ticket without additional charge.

More support than opposition

Despite the absence in the study of any technical or transport-policy-based arguments against the cableway, according to the Bonn newspaper General-Anzeiger, politicians and citizens continue to discuss the pros and cons of the planned installation. The citi- zens’ initiative “Bonn bleibt seilbahnfrei” (Bonn remains cable car-free), the name of which captures its program, stands on one side of the barricade.

Two possible routes. Photo: Bundesstadt Bonn

Positioned against it are nine trans- port and environmental associations. In addition, the plans have the sup- port of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the Bonn University Clinic. And also large companies such as Telekom have signaled their interest in the project. The municipal utility company, Stadtwerke Bonn, could become the cableway’s operator.

Thorough analysis still missing

Although experts have verifed the cableway’s principal feasibility, a thorough analysis of whether or not such a cableway would be economically viable still needs to be conducted. It is expected that it will come out in the summer of 2019. Construction costs are preliminarily estimated at 19.5 million euros for the rst section of the route from Venusberg to the UN Campus station and at 22.3 million euros for the second section across the Rheinau leisure park and the Rhine.


The yearly deficit resulting from the operation of the cableway is assessed at 1 million euros ( rst section), or 3 million euros (the entire route). ts