Windy days don’t mean downtime for Cableway staff
Cape Town’s weather is notoriously fickle, and during spring and summer the south-easter wind plays havoc with many a well-laid plan. For generations, Capetonians have held on to the belief that the wind, which can reach gale force at times, clears the air of pollution and illness. While this may be an old wives’ tale, the wind does clear beaches, picnic spots and Table Mountain.
The wind strength is stronger on top of the mountain than on the ground, and if it picks up the Cableway has to close; this happens between 60 and 90 days each year.
When this happens, a siren sounds, alerting visitors to make their way back to the Upper Cableway Station. While the cable cars can withstand the wind, best practice dictates that we cease operating.
Once all our visitors have been safely brought down from the summit, our staff members continue with their day: the New7Wonder of Nature has to be kept as spic and span as possible, and staff use the time to do intense cleaning. Maintenance, however, takes place throughout the year.
“During summer, when thousands of people visit the mountain, our staff complement can be as much as 250 people, who work on a roster system,” says junior customer services manager Simone Clarke. “When the Cableway closes there is a lot to do; we place emphasis on intense cleaning and staff training.
“With so many people coming to the mountain, there is always a lot of cleaning to be done. While there is constant cleaning, we use the opportunity when we are closed to do heavy-duty cleaning.”
Ongoing training is also provided at these times. Clarke says emphasis is placed on training to ensure that skills are up to date.