Greenwich Emirates Air Line cable car risks becoming 'white elephant'

The cable car opened in June

The cable car opened in June

First published in News News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

GREENWICH'S £60m Thames cable car link risks becoming a cash-draining "white elephant", it is claimed, as passenger numbers continue to flatline.

News Shopper first reported how Emirates Air Line, plugged as a "much needed river crossing" by the Mayor of London when it opened in June, nose-dived after the Olympics to less than five per cent capacity.

In the latest Transport for London (TfL) figures, the five-minute link, which can carry up to 2,500 passengers an hour in each direction, took less than an hour’s worth of riders each day.

There were just 30,667 passengers using the route from Greenwich peninsula to the Royal Docks for the week spanning November 18 to 24 - a daily average of 4,381 users.

London Assembly Green Party member Darren Johnson slated the figures as "extremely disappointing" and called for the transport link to be incorporated into travelcards, encouraging commuter usage.

Mr Johnson said: "To boost ridership he should review the ticketing policy to include the cable car in travelcards, the freedom pass and the Oyster cap so that it is more attractive to Londoners undertaking everyday travel.

"Otherwise, the cable car risks becoming the white elephant of the Olympics when it has the potential to become an integrated part of London’s transport network."

During high winds the service closed for eight hours on September 24 with just 301 passengers using it.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group Caroline Pidgeon said: "It is now increasingly clear that the Thames cable car is little more than a tourist attraction and not proving a useful link for people who regularly commute across the Thames."

TfL's Head of the Emirates Air Line Danny Price said: "It is envisaged that revenue generated will, over time, cover all costs.

"The number of journeys made on this route is already over 1.5 million, well exceeding our first year target and customer feedback shows very high levels of satisfaction with value for money."

Weekly passenger number figures are now published at tfl.gov.uk

Comments (13)

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11:31am Tue 4 Dec 12

j.j. says...

hmm, hardly anybody is using an expensive link from nowhere to nowhere - that's not really very surprising.

It's good that a sponsor is picking up the bill, but TfL should stop spinning the numbers and admit that the cable car was a vanity project and an excuse for not building proper river crossings. Their denial just goes to show how detached they are from Londoners' day-to-day travel needs and patterns.
hmm, hardly anybody is using an expensive link from nowhere to nowhere - that's not really very surprising. It's good that a sponsor is picking up the bill, but TfL should stop spinning the numbers and admit that the cable car was a vanity project and an excuse for not building proper river crossings. Their denial just goes to show how detached they are from Londoners' day-to-day travel needs and patterns. j.j.
  • Score: 0

11:41am Tue 4 Dec 12

Outandabout says...

I agree JJ. Boris arrogantly committed £36 million of public money with little or no research and this is what was predicted would happen. It was a vanity project. 'Boris' cable car' That it would tail off after the Olympics and never pick up. There is no point going to the O2 and using the cable car when the Jubilee line is quicker. Commuters want shorter journeys not picturesque longer ones.
I agree JJ. Boris arrogantly committed £36 million of public money with little or no research and this is what was predicted would happen. It was a vanity project. 'Boris' cable car' That it would tail off after the Olympics and never pick up. There is no point going to the O2 and using the cable car when the Jubilee line is quicker. Commuters want shorter journeys not picturesque longer ones. Outandabout
  • Score: 0

11:50am Tue 4 Dec 12

Gypo.Joe says...

There's only one word for his type project........." a boondoggle"
There's only one word for his type project........." a boondoggle" Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 0

11:52am Tue 4 Dec 12

Gypo.Joe says...

*this ....even
*this ....even Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 0

4:30pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Womblingbarnacle says...

SE London needs proper crossings. Build the bridge at Thamesmead and make it big enough to drive, walk, cycle, and get public transport over.

There's no crossings for miles east of Greenwich and why should SE London people have to pay silly amounts for a cable car when West London gets lots of crossings for free?
SE London needs proper crossings. Build the bridge at Thamesmead and make it big enough to drive, walk, cycle, and get public transport over. There's no crossings for miles east of Greenwich and why should SE London people have to pay silly amounts for a cable car when West London gets lots of crossings for free? Womblingbarnacle
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Tue 4 Dec 12

mouthalmighty says...

Hahahaha........I can't stop laughing. That's because if I did I would cry. Cable car from Greenwich to isle of dogs or what ever fancy name they call it. Thamesmead sounds like a good bet, but what of the foreseeable traffic particularly Brampton road. Its a bottle neck at the best of times. A load of houses will have to come down to make way for the most definite increase in traffic. Ow! My head is aching. All this thinking.
Hahahaha........I can't stop laughing. That's because if I did I would cry. Cable car from Greenwich to isle of dogs or what ever fancy name they call it. Thamesmead sounds like a good bet, but what of the foreseeable traffic particularly Brampton road. Its a bottle neck at the best of times. A load of houses will have to come down to make way for the most definite increase in traffic. Ow! My head is aching. All this thinking. mouthalmighty
  • Score: 0

8:19pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Donna_T says...

I used it once that was enough for me thank you. Bobbing around like a turd in a p1ss pot at extreme height is not for the faint of heart and a lady like my goodself.
I used it once that was enough for me thank you. Bobbing around like a turd in a p1ss pot at extreme height is not for the faint of heart and a lady like my goodself. Donna_T
  • Score: 0

2:20am Wed 5 Dec 12

mouthalmighty says...

I just love the sowff London terminology. I wouldn't live anywhere else. I tried it but came back. Love it Donna_T. A bit more of this please.
I just love the sowff London terminology. I wouldn't live anywhere else. I tried it but came back. Love it Donna_T. A bit more of this please. mouthalmighty
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Wed 5 Dec 12

j.j. says...

Womblingbarnacle wrote:
SE London needs proper crossings. Build the bridge at Thamesmead and make it big enough to drive, walk, cycle, and get public transport over. There's no crossings for miles east of Greenwich and why should SE London people have to pay silly amounts for a cable car when West London gets lots of crossings for free?
100% correct. Fortunately, Greenwich council is now also backing this up.

There is currently a public consultation on river crossings. Let's all use this opportunity to get the voice of SE London heard in the Citi hall.

https://consultation
s.tfl.gov.uk/river/c
rossings

NS, it would be great if you could run a story on the consultation so that we get as many people in the NS area to respond as possible.
[quote][p][bold]Womblingbarnacle[/bold] wrote: SE London needs proper crossings. Build the bridge at Thamesmead and make it big enough to drive, walk, cycle, and get public transport over. There's no crossings for miles east of Greenwich and why should SE London people have to pay silly amounts for a cable car when West London gets lots of crossings for free?[/p][/quote]100% correct. Fortunately, Greenwich council is now also backing this up. There is currently a public consultation on river crossings. Let's all use this opportunity to get the voice of SE London heard in the Citi hall. https://consultation s.tfl.gov.uk/river/c rossings NS, it would be great if you could run a story on the consultation so that we get as many people in the NS area to respond as possible. j.j.
  • Score: 0

1:21pm Wed 5 Dec 12

piglet2011 says...

This is a shame but I strongly believe that the cable car needs to be cheaper if passengers number are to be increased.

I have travelled on the cable car a few times and enjoyed the experience.
This is a shame but I strongly believe that the cable car needs to be cheaper if passengers number are to be increased. I have travelled on the cable car a few times and enjoyed the experience. piglet2011
  • Score: 0

9:55am Thu 6 Dec 12

rescaaffering oldey says...

Gypo.Joe wrote:
*this ....even
...panto clown - rofl!!
[quote][p][bold]Gypo.Joe[/bold] wrote: *this ....even[/p][/quote]...panto clown - rofl!! rescaaffering oldey
  • Score: 0

10:02am Thu 6 Dec 12

rescaaffering oldey says...

...boris wastes £60m on something he wouldn't use himself - then scoots off to india to encourage more indian workers to take the jobs of decent, honest, british people!! not forgetting boris the buffoon wants a total amnesty on all illegal immigrants in london - so they can work ( legally!! ) and pay taxes - as opposed to working illegally and not paying taxes!! ...not sure the illegal immigrants want that either!! why doesn't he just make the ultimate sacrifice if he really belives in more foreign workers coming here - and offer to give up *his* job to an indian gentleman ? errrr... rofl!!
...boris wastes £60m on something he wouldn't use himself - then scoots off to india to encourage more indian workers to take the jobs of decent, honest, british people!! not forgetting boris the buffoon wants a total amnesty on all illegal immigrants in london - so they can work ( legally!! ) and pay taxes - as opposed to working illegally and not paying taxes!! ...not sure the illegal immigrants want that either!! why doesn't he just make the ultimate sacrifice if he really belives in more foreign workers coming here - and offer to give up *his* job to an indian gentleman ? errrr... rofl!! rescaaffering oldey
  • Score: 0

10:37am Thu 6 Dec 12

Donna_T says...

rescaaffering oldey wrote:
...boris wastes £60m on something he wouldn't use himself - then scoots off to india to encourage more indian workers to take the jobs of decent, honest, british people!! not forgetting boris the buffoon wants a total amnesty on all illegal immigrants in london - so they can work ( legally!! ) and pay taxes - as opposed to working illegally and not paying taxes!! ...not sure the illegal immigrants want that either!! why doesn't he just make the ultimate sacrifice if he really belives in more foreign workers coming here - and offer to give up *his* job to an indian gentleman ? errrr... rofl!!
Just scoff ya breakfast Karl and run along back to work, there a good little fat man.


tHAnk yOu
[quote][p][bold]rescaaffering oldey[/bold] wrote: ...boris wastes £60m on something he wouldn't use himself - then scoots off to india to encourage more indian workers to take the jobs of decent, honest, british people!! not forgetting boris the buffoon wants a total amnesty on all illegal immigrants in london - so they can work ( legally!! ) and pay taxes - as opposed to working illegally and not paying taxes!! ...not sure the illegal immigrants want that either!! why doesn't he just make the ultimate sacrifice if he really belives in more foreign workers coming here - and offer to give up *his* job to an indian gentleman ? errrr... rofl!![/p][/quote]Just scoff ya breakfast Karl and run along back to work, there a good little fat man. tHAnk yOu Donna_T
  • Score: 0

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