Labour London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has revised his planned closure date for the Emirates Air Line but not entirely dismissed the idea.
The favourite to win City Hall in May had declared that he would shut the underused link as a means of saving money to put towards a freeze on ticket prices.
He said: “[I’ll end] Boris Johnson’s habit of using Londoners’ money to fund expensive vanity projects. I’ll start by ending any further public funding for the Emirates cable car as soon as the contract allows — if that means it closes, then so be it. It has been a disastrous waste of money and costs more than £5million a year to run.”
However, since his declaration on the link on Monday (January 4), the fine print has brought more nuance to bear and the idea of a £5million a year subsidy has been questioned.
TfL pointed out that the cable car between the Royal Docks and Greenwich actually makes a surplus, thanks mostly to its novelty value as a tourist attraction. Meanwhile, the £36million sponsorship with Emirates to 2021 is nailed down.
An early break clause is available in 2017 but would incur a £5million penalty and loss of remaining sponsorship money making the idea financial unpalatable. TfL believes that an early end to the contract would cost £20million, far more than Mr Khan hoped to save.
Asked to comment on the financial position once all these factors had been considered, a spokesman for Mr Khan's campaign said: “We’ll review it and the likeliest option is it closing in 2021”.
According to a YouGov poll for LBC, Mr Khan is 10 points clear of his main rival Conservative Zac Goldsmith with a 45%/35% split.
Follow The Wharf on Twitter @the_wharf .
Keep up to date with all our articles on Facebook .