Cable car prices out commuters, say critics

By Rob Virtue on June 19, 2012 1:52 PM |

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Opponents of Boris Johnson say his cable car, which is due open to the public later this month, is too expensive for Londoners to use regularly.

The scheme is being criticised because even those who already have annual travelcards will have to pay an extra £3.20 for a trip across the Thames.

The Emirates Air Line, which will ferry people between the Olympic venues of The O2 and Excel centre this summer, will open at midday on June 28.

But a round trip will cost £6.40 with an Oyster and £8.60 without - with no further discount for travelcard or Freedom Pass holders - and the Mayor's opponents at City Hall say they believe this is too much.

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrats at the London Assembly, said the prices mean the crossing will never be an integral part of the capital's transport network.

She said: "Why should local people with a Zone 3 weekly, monthly or yearly travelcard be charged for using this service?

"And how many people are really going to use this service as opposed to their normal mode of transport?"

Labour's member for City and East at the Assembly, John Biggs, agrees with Ms Pidgeon.

He also points out only £36m of the £60m cost for the cable car is being footed by sponsors Emirates. This, despite the London Mayor's earlier promise that none of the cost will be met by the taxpayer.

"While a new river crossing is welcome, it is a real shame that locals will have to pay a premium fare to get across the river," said Mr Biggs.

"We were also promised by Mayor Johnson that this scheme would cost the taxpayer nothing, in fact we will end up paying tens of millions of pounds."

Meanwhile, Green Party member at City Hall, Jenny Jones, who is a big fan of the crossing from North Greenwich to the Royal Docks said she was 'surprised' by the price and added: "I had hoped they would be much more reasonable."

Transport for London, however, argues Londoners can take advantage of a 10-trip pass for £16, while children with Oyster cards can travel for £1.60 each way.

A TfL spokesperson said: "The Emirates Air Line will provide a much needed additional crossing in east London, providing an interchange with the Tube and DLR network.

"Whilst the Emirates Air Line is a welcome boost to Olympic and Paralympic travel options, the cable car will support travel to and from the O2 and ExCeL, both world-class attractions, as well as the longer term regeneration of this area which includes the arrival of Crossrail later in the decade.

"The fares package has been designed to make it affordable for local people, costing just £1.60 with a frequent flyer ticket. Passengers will also be able to secure a discount with a Travelcard or Oyster Pay As You Go."

2 Comments

Mr Michael Purdy said:

Sir,

Will I be able to use my Freedom Pass? Thanks. Michael Purdy.

Nargis said:

can you take babies on there?