They don't require a lift,they're optional. The system is exactly the same as in RCT3. Are you maybe thinking instead of RCT3's river raft thing? I know that had lift hills too as an option but most people i saw didn't use them.
I figured it out, it wouldn't let me build a straight piece after the station because the station end was too close to a vertical land face. So, I deleted one station piece and now it works, no lift required.