Call to boost Thames cable car commuters

Up to 1.5m journeys have been made on the cable car since it opened in July

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Calls have been made to allow people to use travelcards on the Thames cable car in order to boost commuter traffic.

It comes as Transport for London figures show regular commuters make one in every ten thousand journeys.

Since the Olympics the £60m service, which operates between the 02 and the Excel Centre, has been running at less than 10% capacity, the figures show.

Transport for London said it was early days and it remained optimistic commuter numbers would increase.

Mayor Boris Johnson opened the Emirates Air Line in June ready for the start of the Olympics in July and so far 1.5 million trips have been made.

Since the end of the Games in September 400,000 journeys have been made but of those only 1,400 were discounted commuter fares, which are 10 for £16.

This accounts for 0.01% of all trips since the end of the Games.

'Capacity for growth'

In response to this, Liberal Democrat London Assembly leader Caroline Pidgeon said: "I don't think it works because it doesn't necessarily go to a destination people would want to.

"It doesn't connect up with Canary Wharf or somewhere which would be useful as a river crossing so all we are seeing is a publicly-funded tourist attraction rather than a serious mode of transport.

"What the mayor now needs to do is incorporate it into the travelcard network to make sure people are using it rather than the handful that are to date."

CABLE CAR FARES

  • Adult single fare - £3.20
  • Child single fare - £1.60
  • Round trip - £6.40
  • Frequent traveller - £16

But Danny Price, head of Emirates Air Line, insisted it was not just an Olympic attraction.

He said commuter numbers would "grow in time as the area regenerates and changes and we have the capacity for that growth".

The mayor's office said criticism of low passenger number was misplaced and the cable car was important for encouraging more investment.

Last month Transport for London said the service had exceeded its target of carrying 1.3 million people in the first year.

A campaign has now been launched to attract more users.

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