The Thames Cable-Car-to-Nowhere Takings Have Plummeted

By Gary Cutlack on at

Poor old North Greenwich, the inaccessible bit of London's docklands that struggled to find something to do with the Millennium Dome for years, would appear to have a new redundant bit of infrastructure on its hands. The cable car, one of the 2012 Olympics' highlights, isn't exactly pulling people in.

Financial figures suggest earnings on the route have come in some 35 per cent lower than predicted in Q2 of the 2013/14 financial year, and if it wasn't for the handy sponsorship deal that sees Emirates pumping £3.6m into TfL's pockets every quarter to brand the river link the Emirates Air Line, it would be running at a loss right now.

The plan was for the £60m aerial line to earn £8.3m in ticket revenues during the quarter from passengers making the £8.80 return trip across the river to the O2 Arena hotspot, but it earned just £5.4m. The number of trips taken has fallen in line with revenue, with 36 per cent fewer rides taken than in the same quarter of the previous year.

There are some possible bright spots ahead for the cable car, though. The Mayor is under constant pressure to include the line in London's Oyster card travel cap scheme, which would at least raise footfall, plus the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park -- the re-purposed remains of London's 2012 Olympic venue -- will be opening more areas to the public later this year.

The south section of the former Olympic venue and its parks and walks are due to open on April 5th, which might drag some tourists away from the rammed West End streets and into the more spacious east. [Mirror via Standard]