A 50 and Fabulous Special: Singapore Cable Car

TTG Asia Media celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year along with several industry players that have also thrived through the past five decades

The first generation cable car

Look up! It’s a bird, it’s a plane… it’s a cable car!

Well, not just any cable car, but a string of 67 modern, and rather fancy cable cars operated by Singapore Cable Car, one of the very first tourist attractions presented by the city-state.

Launched in 1974, Singapore Cable Car is now part of the larger Mount Faber Leisure Group, which also manages and promotes other hot attractions today, like Mount Faber Peak, SkyHelix Sentosa and Wings of Time.

In celebration of its Golden Jubilee this year, Singapore Cable Car unveiled a collection of seven futuristic SkyOrb Cabins – chrome-finished spherical cabins with glass bottoms and enhanced ventilation. These are said to be the first of its kind globally, and specially designed and built in Switzerland for Singapore Cable Car.

The creation of the SkyOrb Cabins was five years in the making, at a time when the attraction was celebrating its 45th anniversary, revealed Buhdy Bok, managing director of Mount Faber Leisure Group.

This forward-thinking culture is a hallmark of Singapore Cable Car, which has led several innovative products and ideas through the years.

In 1979, it earned its first international exposure through American action drama, Hawaii Five-O, which featured an action scene at Mount Faber Peak and on first-generation yellow cable cars.

Demonstrating that cable cars can be more than just a scenic way to commute between the mainland and resort island Sentosa, Singapore Cable Car launched in 1998 the world’s first Sky Dining concept, a private dining experience for guests as they take in sights of the city skyline.

In 1999, Singapore Cable Car showed off its collection of the world’s first glass bottom cabins. Six years later, as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, it gained even more fame with Singapore’s and Asia’s first reality challenge in a cable car – the Surviving the Sky 7 Days Challenge required teams of one female and one male to endure living in a cable car for 168 hours. It drew 36 teams from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The iconic cable cars that dot the southern coast skyline have also embarked on thematic campaigns that reflect major current trends, like Angry Birds and Pokémon.

Bok: ability to adapt and innovate

Bok, who took his first ride when he was just six years old and in a first generation red cabin with his family and relatives, said the ongoing Pokémon experience was initiated in May 2023, as part of pre-celebrations leading up to the Golden Jubilee. The campaign features Poké Ball cabins and photo opportunities with a life-sized Pikachu, a 2m-tall life-sized Snorlax sculpture, and various photo points around Mount Faber Peak.

“By bringing Pokémon to Mount Faber Peak, we aimed to create an immersive experience that appeals to both local enthusiasts and international tourists, further enhancing Mount Faber Peak’s allure,” said Bok.

Since the commencement of operations on February 15, 1974, Singapore Cable Car has welcomed over 60 million guests. Love from locals is strong, with domestic visitorship on the Singapore Cable Car–Mount Faber Line rising 57 per cent over 2019’s numbers.

Looking back, Bok said Singapore Cable Car’s “half a century of success is a remarkable achievement”, and credited the attraction’s commitment to safety, reliability, and guest satisfaction as key reasons for this accomplishment.

He elaborated: “Our ability to adapt and innovate has also played a significant role in our success. Over the years, we have introduced new partnerships and experiences to stay relevant in an ever-changing tourism landscape.

“Having a strong technical operations team with a wealth of experience operating the Singapore Cable Car is also vital to our success. Many of them have been working here for decades or even since 1974. Their knowledge and expertise, as well as their ability to ideate and introduce innovative features for the Singapore Cable Car, have helped us achieve many product breakthroughs.”

Bok believes that these same reasons will take the attraction forward in the next 50 years, as its teams continue to embrace change and delight visitors for generations to come.

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