After much waiting and speculation we finally know that Boris’s cable car will open at the end of this month.
The decision not to accept Travelcards and Freedon Passes has helped many form the view that this is really a tourist attraction masquerading as a transport service.
To which I’d suggest it also implies Transport for London need to claw in every penny of fare revenue to fill the financial black hole the scheme has created in its accounts.
And, as with Barclays and the Cycle Hire scheme, Emirates Airlines gets some nice advertising from a scheme they’re only contributing part of the costs to.
Whether a transport service or a tourist attraction, the cable car is poor value.
While much of the sponsorship agreement is kept away from public scrutiny, we do know that the money won’t increase with inflation and that it’s being paid in instalments. We don’t know over how long but the sponsorship period runs 10 years so we can assume the payments will be made over much of that period.
Taxpayers have paid for the scheme today and – possibly – over a decade will receive periodic reimbursements which could be worth much less after inflation than the money we’ve paid out.
Londoners who loan TfL their money by way of buying a monthly or yearly Travelcard are being stiffed by having to pay again to ride the taxpayer funded cable car.
And as a tourist attraction it’s stunningly poor value when compared to its nearest rival – the London Eye.
A ride on the Eye will last about 30 minutes and tickets are available from just £15 – that’s 50p per minute of travel. By comparison a round trip on Boris’s cable car is only guaranteed to last 10 minutes and will cost you £6.40 or 64p per minute.
When Boris took over Tube Lines he insisted TfL were able to provide better value than the private sector. Today he’s unveiled a pet project which does the opposite.