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Date Submitted: 09/03/2011 12:04 AM

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Ropeways offer business opportunities not only as tourist attractions in hill stations, but also as cheaper means of urban transportation, capable of decongesting over-choked cities.

Some call it the cable car, some aerial lift, and yet some others prefer to call it aerial tramway.

Nomenclature aside, it has really caught the fancy of tourists, as evidenced by the hordes who don’t mind shelling out Rs 100 to 300 for a round trip of merely a few minutes in Mussoorie, Manali, or Raigad amongst others.

Leading Austrian ropeway manufacturers have opened new vistas in the business by commissioning ropeways for public transport in three Algerian cities and one in Caracas, Venezuela. The ropeway in the Algerian town of Constantine was opened to public in June 2008. It carries 24,000 persons everyday, even though it is operating from 9 am to 7 pm only. Its carrying capacity will increase further after the proposed increase in operating hours from 6 am to 11 pm. The other two cities in Algeria where this is being employed as means of public transport are Skikda and Tlemcen. Doppelmayr Garaventa, a leading manufacturer of ropeways, is in the process of commissioning a first time peak-to-peak gondola lift at Whistler BlackComb resort in Canada, where the gondola will connect the two peaks-Whistler and BlackComb.

“Ropeways are a reasonable means of... public transport,” says Ekkehard Assmann, head of marketing, Doppelmayr Garaventa.

“We have already proved this a number of times, though a lot of people think [only] mountains and even skiing when thinking about ropeways.”

Ropeways, which can reach speeds of 36 km/hr, can definitely be considered an alternative to skyways, metro trains, monorails, and low-floor buses as a means of public transport in congested areas of cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi. Apart from that, there are unexplored opportunities for regular mountain ropeways and skilifts.