Thames cable car users fall by nearly 80%

12:16 30 November 2012

The Emirates Air Line runs between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula.

The Emirates Air Line runs between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula.


Passenger figures for the Thames cable car fell by nearly 80 per cent from August to November, according to new figures.

The £62.6million Emirates Air Line, which opened in June and runs between the Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula, was built to transport up to 2,500 visitors an hour.

But statistics released last week show that the service often fails to transport 2,500 people in a day.

The number of cable car users has fallen from a peak of 180,804 in the week ending August 11 to 34,885 in the week ending November 4.

Just 301 people used the service on September 24, when high winds forced it to close for eight hours, while daily sales of the discounted Frequent Flyer passes rarely rise into the double figures.

The figures were given in response to a formal question tabled by Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson to London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson said: “To boost ridership [the Mayor] 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.”

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Assembly’s Liberal Democrat Group, said: “Outside of weekends and school holidays the passenger figures for the Thames cable car are pitiful.

“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.”

Danny Price, TfL’s head of the Emirates Air Line, said: “A significant majority of the construction cost has already been covered by the £36m Emirates sponsorship and a grant from the European Regional Development Fund.

“It is envisaged that revenue generated will, over time, cover all costs. The number of journeys made on this route is already over 1.5m, well exceeding our first year target and customer feedback shows very high levels of satisfaction with value for money. “

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