The mining town of Chiatura (in the country of Georgia) has a cable-car system that runs for free. In fact, mwcnews.net states that it has been running for free, 24 hours a day, since 1952.
The aerial tramway is one of the oldest in the world.
Even today, the rusting cable cars are still used to ferry commuters and miners in and out of the city center.
It was first installed to ferry workers, as well as ore and manganese, which was discovered in the hills above the city in the 19th century.
Marina Dzigvashvili has been a cablecar operator in Chiatura for the past 17 years. She said that the cable car is the fastest, if not the most comfortable, means to transport people who live up the hill.
“You need just two minutes to come here by cable car, but the bus takes an hour at least,” Dzigvashvili said.
But the daily commute in Chiatura, in what are little more than rusting boxes suspended from steel ropes, is not for the faint-hearted.
Amiran Bareladze is a cable-car engineer, and he has kept the system rolling for years now.
“I think the machinery will outlive me, because it is metal and it will work longer. I am human and, who knows, I might die tomorrow.”
Chiatura is reportedly promised a new network of cablecars, according to mwcnews.net. Until then it will continue to depend on engineering that outlasted even the Soviet Union.