The long-standing debate as to whether Boris’s dangleway is a tourist attraction or a genuine attempt to create a new transport link is currently trending very heavily left – the evidence, in no particular order:

  • Sudden decline in usage after the summer
  • Long standing evidence that weekend usage is higher than midweek
  • Darryl ‘853‘ Chamberlain’s morning #dangleway tweets where he gives an impression of peak time morning usage
  • TfL’s slightly desperate attempts to conjour up business
  • Repeated closures due to weather which suggests it isn’t a brilliant winter prospect

The usage decline is hinted at in an FoI response which produces the following table:

  • Month Ridership
  • June 29613
  • July 370713
  • August 551039
  • September 289601

That’s a bit broad-brush but the Olympic boost and post-summer comedown are clear there and even clearer in a graph:

For a better breakdown we have to wait to see what the outcome of some Mayoral Questions is, such as this from Darren Johnson AM:

Can you provide a daily breakdown of the number of people using the new cable car in the weeks since the 11th August? At what point will you review the passenger figures and consider if any adjustments to the pricing structure are necessary in order to maximise the success of the cable car as a genuine part of the public transport system?

Of course, other MQTs include this on the frequency of total closure of the system, between 28/6/2012 and 17/10/2012:

  • At the request of the Port of London Authority for large or long ships to pass – nine times (frequency reflects additional traffic in connection with the Olympic and Paralympic Games)
  • High winds (gusting above 21 m/sec) – five times
  • Possibility of lightning – four times
  • Mechanical/technical reasons – five times

21m/sec is 47mph, hardly a particularly high wind.  It was closed both days of last weekend, for instance, when it didn’t seem particularly blowy in London.

Finally Helen has dug up that the staff at the cable car aren’t TfL, but hired in from a company called ‘Continuum‘ which is mainly interested in, er, tourist attractions, including the Jorvik Viking Centre in York.  They’re called ‘front of house’, too, again suggesting an attraction rather than a transport network.  Then there’s a rather revealing tweet from the company’s Group Sales Manager Elizabeth Mounser:

Well, what is it?  The people with the ‘front of house’ contract think it’s a tourist attraction, but do TfL?  Does the Mayor?  How many people *are* actually using the thing now the winter evenings have set in and it closes at 8pm?

 

4 Responses to Cable Car – Transport Project or Tourist Attraction?

  1. Tim says:

    The job descriptions match the expectations I would have of any TfL front of house staff on the Tube !

  2. Tony Woolf says:

    It was busy over the school half term, almost all family groups. Very few had Oysters so there were long queues to buy tickets even though many cars were leaving only half full or even almost empty. I went as a tourist, it was a great ride, we enjoyed it so much that we took the ride back as well even though we didn’t need to.

  3. [...] minutes each way and is, in theory, a regular part of the city’s transport system. But as the BorisWatch blog says, the passenger numbers have been in free-fall since the end of the [...]

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