Monday, 2 July 2012

A Trip On The New Thames Dangleway

On the way home yesterday, I decided on an impulse to check out the new Thames cable car, which opened on 28 June. Officially its the Emirates Air Line but the blogger Diamond Geezer has already christened it the ArabFly Dangleway. The queue was massive, which I should have expected on the opening weekend, but moved pretty quickly: the 'gondolas' move continuously and passengers have to jump on (not as bad as it sounds). They are also pretty small, holding around eight people, but it is possible to get a great view of the Dome and the river. However, as Londonist points out:
What it is not is a major part of east London’s transport infrastructure, despite what TfL says. As we discussed earlier this month, the pricing (adult fares are £3.20 for Oyster users, £4.30 cash) puts it, at a pence-per-minute scale, on the London Eye end of things, i.e. a tourist attraction. Transport chiefs have suggested that it might alleviate the Tube in the event of (not infrequent) Jubilee line breakdowns, but at 2,500 passengers per hour it has nowhere near the capacity of its subterranean sibling.
The Dangleway is fun but essentially one of Mayor Boris Johnson's vanity projects and an expensive one at that: Boris promised it would cost London taxpayers nothing, but Transport for London will need to find £18.6m to cover the project’s £62.6m costs after the sponsorship by Emirates and European regeneration funds are deducted. Moreover, with a single journey time lasting only 7 minutes, it's never likely to compete with the London Eye as a tourist attraction.

What it quite clearly is, above all, is a tourist-friendly way of getting from one Olympic venue (the O2 Arena, where the gymnastics will be held) to another (the Excel Centre, where the martial arts, fencing and other indoor events take place). Perhaps that was the point after all - just another part of this summer's massive circus performance, dressed up as a way of regenerating east London but with a financially uncertain future.

Anyway, there are more pictures of the Dangleway, both prior to its opening and from yesterday, that I've posted up on Flickr.
A view back towards the Dome
Looking down towards the Thames Barrier


Anonymous said...

I support the cable car. It puts the Royal Docks on the map. Certainly, when you think about the London Pleasure Gardens. Then you see a good vision for the future of the Royal Docks.

(I am aware they had overcrowing for one of the nights, but I hope London Pleasure Gardens is a sucess). Organised by a lots of cool people!

Even suprised, Newham Council supported it.

Anonymous said...

The London Pleasure Gardens as a vision of the future? You know I think you might just be right there - another worthwhile investment of public money, bringing regeneration and prosperity to the whole area...

...of the developer's wallets.

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