Boris rejects calls to rethink Cable Car fares policy

Boris Johnson has rejected London Assembly calls to reconsider fare levels for the Thames Cable Car and integrate the scheme into the capital’s fares system.

Currently Travecard and Freedom Pass holders cannot use their existing passes to travel on the cable car and must instead purchase a separate ticket costing £3.20 per journey.

The scheme is also excluded from the Oyster daily cap which limits the amount paid by Oyster Pay As you Go users on other TfL transport modes.

In July a majority of London Assembly Members agreed a motion calling for the Mayor to:

  • Reconsider the exclusion of cable car journeys from the normal ticketing arrangements when he makes his 2013 fares decision;
  • Report to the Assembly, well in advance of his 2013 fares decision, on the cost of including cable car journeys in travel cards, the Freedom Pass and Oyster cap;
  • Consult with boroughs on how cable car travel could be included in the Freedom Pass.

The Mayor’s response to the motion is contained in his latest report to the London Assembly which will be formally presented at Mayor’s Question Time on October 17th.

In his report the Mayor says “there is not enough ‘business as usual’ data on which to make reasonable projections of what the demand will be for the Emirates Air Line in the long term”, and says this means it “would therefore be premature to consider any changes to ticketing arrangements.”

Prior to the Games daily usage was as low as 5,138 and exceeded 8,000 weekday journeys on just two dates – 17th and 20th July. Increased usage during the Games allowed TfL to announce that passenger numbers had exceeded half a million in less than a month.

The response adds that: “TfL will, of course, look at how best it can manage the scheme to continue to ensure good value for money for both the travelling public and tax- and fare payers” once it is “able to make a meaningful assessment of the demand and travel behaviour”.

It also describes the cable car fares as “competitive with local alternatives such as the Tube/Docklands Light Railway and cross-river Thames Clipper trips.”

Johnson originally promised the £60m scheme would be built at no cost to the taxpayer but has so far only been able to recoup part of the upfront costs from sponsorship and an EU grant.


  1. ASLEF shrugged says

    “there is not enough ‘business as usual’ data on which to make reasonable projections of what the demand will be”

    I had a good laugh at this. There was enough “data” for TfL to claim that the cable car would carry 2500 passengers every hour in the months before it opened. I seem to recall that the Emirates sponsorhsip deal was dependent on how many passengers this attracted and the amount of money would be reduced if it failed to reach a certain level though I’d imagine the actual details will be withheld as they are “commerically sensitive”.