Modernisation of the Ljubljana Funicular

Last year, a record number of tourists (397,300 people) used the funicular to visit the Ljubljana Castle. In 2006–2014, it operated at a loss. Only in the past two years, they managed to reverse this tendency. It is planned to reconstruct the railway and install a second cabin instead of the counterweight.

According to the business plan, in 2017 the number of passengers will increase by 5% and reach 420,000 people, the travel prices will not change, and the Municipality of Ljubljana (MOL) will allocate 50,000 euros from the budget for the funicular railway operation.

Over the recent five years, the number of tourists in Ljubljana has increased. It is expected that the three-millionth guest will visit the capital in May. The record passenger traffic was determined on 10 December 2016, when the funicular managed to transport 3,080 people during one day. The employees of the state centre “Ljubljanski Grad”, which since 2011 has been the funicular operator, note that in high season its capacity is not able to cover the increasing number of passengers. Passengers had to wait their turn for more than 30 minutes.

Increase in Passenger Traffic

Reconstruction of the railway and installation of a second cabin will double the passenger traffic in the long run. Among the short-term measures planned for this year, the authorities are going to increase the passenger traffic per hour and reduce the time of boarding/deboarding. The boarding control software, video surveillance inside the cabin, and movement control will be upgraded as well. The sensors to monitor boarding will be installed as well, and passengers will reach the platform faster.

The level of salary will grow insignificantly, and the operating costs will increase due to obsolete equipment. It is planned to receive 865,000 euros of revenues, 815,000 euros of which will be the net gains from sales, and 50,000 euros—the governmental grants. Total investment is expected to reach 862,000 euros, 310,000 euros of which will go to pay salaries and taxes, 195,000 euros will be spent for administrative expenses, 213,000 euros—routine maintenance, 109,000—operational costs, and 35,000 euros—depreciation. The minimal profitability without losses and residual income is expected by the end of this year, while the balance sheet profit is estimated at 3,000 euros.

The amount of 109,000 euros is allocated for the operating expenses in 2017. It is planned to install a safety rope and arrange exit at the roof of the lower station to increase the railway capacity. Other measures include protection of the funicular railway due to a poor condition of the medieval wall, replacement of the towing rope and rope fixtures, enhancement of controllers and the top station illumination, as well as installation of LED lamps at the funicular’s lower station.

In 2017, the amount of expenses for current operation, maintenance and equipment will make only 213,000 euros. The operating costs are estimated at 160,000 euros, 30,000 euros of which will be used to refine the surrounding area. Cleaning and removal of debris will cost 27,000 euros. The sum of 25,000 euros will be allocated for each of the following services: security, insurance, office supplies, etc. Electricity supply will cost 22,000 euros, software—21,000 euros, ticket cost would make 10,000 euros. The same sum will be allocated to the interventions, that is unforeseen repair or maintenance costs. The employees of the “Ljubljanski Grad” centre note that last year, there were two interventions due to the damage of electrical equipment, but the work on the funicular was not affected.