Small cable cars that provide vital transport in the mountains for farming families and hikers could soon be a thing of the past. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)
Half of the 200 small lifts in Switzerland face closure, due to mounting maintenance costs.
It’s down to a new law introduced in 2007, to bring Switzerland in line with the European Union. It requires that small lifts meet the same rigorous safety standards as the large mountain lift companies in popular tourism centres. While bigger companies can offset their costs thanks to a high number of visitors, many smaller lift companies cannot afford the thousands of francs required for upgrades and repairs.
These small lifts that can carry up to 8 people connect isolated farms with the outside world, and provide extra income for the cash-strapped farmers who run them.
Some operators are set to appeal to the government to provide subsidies. They can count on support from tourism organisations and environmental protection groups, who prefer cable cars to new roads to connect isolated farms with villages.