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Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

Crystal clear way for cable cars

Crystal clear way for cable cars

Seven new "Crystal+" cable cars will debut in Ngong Ping 360 next Saturday as the world's largest transparent cable cabin to carry 10 passengers at a time.
The "Crystal+" cable car is an upgraded version of the 13-year-old crystal cabins, with the transparent walls and flooring continuing to allow passengers a panoramic view of Lantau.

Made in France and Italy, "Crystal+" is believed to be the world's most spacious cable car of its kind. Each of the cabins allows for 10 passengers and a maximum load capacity of 750 kilograms.

Ngong Ping 360's head of cable car operations, Vincent Lam Wang-chi, said it took the company over two years and more than HK$10 million to launch the new cabins, which are Italian-made, double-layered tempered glass for all cabin sides and French-made, triple-layered tempered glass for the bottom.

Ngong Ping managing director Andy Lau Wai-ming not only hoped that "Crystal+" would become a leisurely activity for city residents during the Christmas and New Year holidays, but also that it would attract tourists by enriching local travel resources.

His comment came after the company recorded a 70 percent drop in passengers throughout the three-year coronavirus pandemic.

He added that Ngong Ping 360 has suspended service for more than 100 days this year due to the fifth wave of Covid infections.

Despite a 20 percent increase in daily passengers compared to last year, Lau said the company would still face a deficit this year.

"We should take our time - not only to maintain our trustworthiness and operation for local passengers, but we also have to get prepared for the future," Lau said.

He added that Ngong Ping did not see a significant increase in tourists after the "0+3" arrangement was launched in September, but he expects the company to receive more group visits now that the city has relaxed curbs on inbound group tours last month.

An early-bird discount is available from yesterday to next Friday, where a round-trip journey for an adult is HK$235 for one way on the "Crystal+" and one way on a standard cabin.

Including the seven new "Crystal+" cabins, Ngong Ping 360 will have a total of 108 cable cars - with the existing 65 standard cabins and 36 crystal cabin cable cars.

Ngong Ping said it will consider introducing more "Crystal+" cabins depending on public reaction.

But this could mean the company will have to remove some standard and crystal cabins, as the current cable car system can only accommodate up to 109 cabins.

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