As Myanmar’s first cable car ascended to the top to Kyaik Htee Yoe hill, the people on board were excitedly talking to each other about the experience.
It had been announced days before that the cable car to Kyaik Htee Yoe pagoda would open on December 15 with free rides all day. Over 100 people were waiting to board after an opening ceremony attended by cabinet ministers and other dignitaries.
Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation U Ohn Win, Chief Minister of Mon State U Aye Zan, other Mon State ministers, MPs from Kyaikto township, and officials from Sky Asia Co and Yadanar Shwesingyi Co attended the event and then boarded the cable car for the inaugural ride. The public was allowed on at 10:30am.
“I have waited to ride the cable car ever since I heard about this project at Kyaik Htee Yoe pagoda. I am excited and never thought I would have this experience,” said U Myint Wai, 52, of Ye township.
The Myanmar Investment Commission gave the green-light to Sky Asia Co Ltd to build the cable car from Yathaedaung Camp to the pagoda on December 26, 2014, and work started on it on February 2, 2015.
The cost of a ride is K3000 for Myanmar people and US$10 (K13,640) for foreigners. Life insurance is provided for all passengers. There are 44 carriages in service, which hold eight people each, and the ride takes 10 minutes.
U Myo Wai, spokesperson of Sky Asia Co Ltd, predicted that the cable car would carry almost 2000 passengers on opening day, with some of them riding it several times.
Sky Asia was set up as a joint venture between Sky International Co Ltd of South Korea and Asia International Fisheries Co Ltd of Myanmar to build the project. The proposal was made to the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry to rent 13 acres of land for K100,000 per acre with a 50-year contract. The cable car line, which cost about $20 million to build, is 955 metres long.
On Saturday, the company said the cable car needed some repairs and would open again on Tuesday.
“There is something wrong with the carriage doors. Too many people got on, over the limit, and the automatic door system needs repair. Otherwise, the line is operating normally and will reopen on Tuesday,” said U Myo Wai.