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