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I was travelling from Singapore main land to Sentosa island using cable car. I never had problem flying or even skydiving. This cable car thing just didn't make me feel safe, I was literally terrified. Riding it many times didn't solve the problem :/

Q: How safe are cable cars? any statistics?

cable car cable car

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What's safe enough? Better than 50-50?? –  Mark Mayo Sep 13 '13 at 7:43
What I mean is - your question says "are cable cars safe enough?" - to which an answer would be simply "yes" since governments let them get built. So I'm wondering what you expect as an answer? –  Mark Mayo Sep 13 '13 at 7:46
changed it @MarkMayo –  MeNoTalk Sep 13 '13 at 7:47
Just check it there is no US air base anywhere near :-P –  vartec Sep 13 '13 at 11:55
I've changed the tag since "cable car" has two very distinct meanings and ambiguous words make bad tag names. In fact I've added "gondolas" to the tag name. This word also has two distinct meanings but taken together there's only one shared meaning. –  hippietrail Sep 13 '13 at 12:43
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up vote 17 down vote accepted

Firstly, it depends on the 'cable car' meaning - I take it you mean the ones hanging above the ground, instead of the San Francisco-style ones which were named one of the most dangerous forms of transportation around.

So on to the type you're talking about. Safety regulations will surely differ in every country. However, since many are made in Switzerland and exported elsewhere (including the 50 and 100-person gondola at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver), I've found some statistics out of Switzerland:

For every 1000 passengers in 2008, there were 0.000005 deaths. If I'm doing my maths correctly, that is one in every 200,000,000 passengers, or a 99.9999995% non-death carry rate :)

In 2009, same chart - there were no deaths.

The same page looks at the deaths in rail, trolleybus and other forms of transportation, all of which have a higher accident and death rate. So basically, if you're willing to get into a method of transportation on the ground, statistically, you're safer off travelling by gondola/cable-car :)

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For context, how does the 2008 number compare to air travel? –  Dan Neely Sep 13 '13 at 12:35
@DanNeely no idea, only found the stats for ground-based travel. Generally you're not considering flight for the distances that cable cars / gondolas travel. –  Mark Mayo Sep 13 '13 at 13:32
I'm thinking that the question is not amount of fatalities per passenger, but the number of accidents per ride. Some accidents are non-fatal, while some (few) have several fatalities. This isn't shown in the table in your source, though. –  Nix Sep 15 '13 at 16:17
@Nix These statistics are generally not measured in accidents per ride, as each gondola may carry different numbers of passengers. It's far more common to measure per x number of persons, as then you can work out the chances for an individual. –  Mark Mayo Sep 15 '13 at 23:17
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