The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway reopened Monday following a near two-month storm-related closure that resulted in repair costs and lost revenue totaling nearly $4 million.
“We have crowds of people here waiting to go up, and we’re just so happy to see this place back alive,” tramway spokeswoman Cara Youngman said late Monday morning. “Right now there is about an hour wait to get onto the tram, so crowds are steadily coming in.”
The first car departed at 10 a.m. amid “crisp, cool” weather conditions, carrying a group that included some out-of-state visitors from the Midwest, Youngman said.
The tramway was forced to close on Feb. 14 when a powerful storm saturated the area and washed out some streets, including Tramway Road, the main route to the aerial attraction.
“While the tramway was on track for record attendance in fiscal year 2018-19, it is estimated that nearly 100,000 visitors were displaced due to the 46-day closure,” Youngman said. “The tram also estimates that the incident resulted in almost $4 million in repair costs and lost ticket revenues.”
In addition to the washed-out roadway, the rain caused damage to the attraction’s main power line, along with the Valley Station water tank and Mountain Station roof.
Last month, the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority approved $351,071 to fund identified repairs, while also setting aside up to $500,000 for other potential repairs, engineering and inspections, at the discretion of the general manager. The authority also approved $300,000 to continue paying the tramway’s roughly 70 employees through the reopening date.
The tramway is billed as the world’s largest rotating tram car and was opened in 1963. It carries visitors 2 1/2 miles, a trip that takes about 10 minutes.
Online ticket sales will resume April 8, tramway officials said.
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