London’s cable car has been forced to close for more than 216 hours since it opened last July.
New figures obtained by the Liberal Democrat group on the London Assembly show that the car closed for a total of 12,962 minutes between July 11th 2012 and April 18th 2013.
The majority of closures were caused by high winds but in response to a Freedom of Information response by the group, Transport for London confirmed the cable car must also close when instructed to by the Port of London Authority.
In its response, TfL says: “A landowner agreement between the Port of London Authority (PLA) and Transport for London (TfL) specifies that the Emirates Air Line must comply with an operating procedure that facilitates the safety of river traffic navigation.
“At the request of the PLA, the Emirates Air Line may from time to time stop running its service for large vessels to pass up or down the river.”
The PLA requested closures on seven occasions, causing a total of four hours of lost service.
TfL has been struggling to convince Londoners that the cable car is a reliable part of the capital’s public transport network suitable for regular commuting.
Recent briefing documents drawn up for the Mayor confirmed that usage patterns are more “consistent with a tourist attraction rather than a commuter service.”
Internal TfL polling also shows that the majority of visitors see the cable car as an occasional experience, with just 43% of passengers planning to use it again within 6 months.
Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon AM said the figures “show just how unreliable the Thames cable car is as a form of public transport. If a year ago anyone suggested that the Thames cable car would have to close for over 216 hours in its first nine months of operating they would be accused of wild scaremongering”
Ms Pidgeon added: “Questions have to be asked as to whether it was built to a satisfactory standard if it has to close so regularly. Around the world other cable cars are able to provide a far more regular service.
“The Mayor promised Londoners that the Thames cable car would not involve a penny of taxpayer’s money and that it would operate as a proper form of public transport. Both these promises have been totally broken.”
|Instances||Date||Total minutes for day||Reason|
|2||18/04/2013||676||Closure due to wind|
|4||14/04/2013||124||Closure due to wind|
|2||01/04/2013||29||Closure due to wind|
|1||16/03/2013||270||Closure due to wind|
|1||13/03/2013||20||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
|1||12/03/2013||610||Closure due to wind|
|1||11/03/2013||780||Closure due to wind|
|1||06/02/2013||489||Closure due to wind|
|1||05/02/2013||571||Closure due to wind|
|2||04/02/2013||580||Closure due to wind|
|2||31/01/2013||708||Closure due to wind|
|1||30/01/2013||535||Closure due to wind|
|1||29/01/2013||239||Closure due to wind|
|1||28/01/2013||255||Closure due to wind|
|2||27/01/2013||514||Closure due to wind|
|1||30/12/2012||217||Closure due to wind|
|2||29/12/2012||504||Closure due to wind|
|1||27/12/2012||55||Closure due to wind|
|1||26/12/2012||32||Closure due to wind|
|1||24/12/2012||365||Closure due to wind|
|2||14/12/2012||389||Closure due to wind|
|2||09/12/2012||108||Closure due to wind|
|3||07/12/2012||516||Closure due to wind|
|2||27/11/2012||219||Closure due to wind|
|1||25/11/2012||307||Closure due to wind|
|1||21/11/2012||223||Closure due to wind|
|1||22/11/2012||363||Closure due to wind|
|1||04/11/2012||115||Closure due to wind|
|1||03/11/2012||89||Closure due to wind|
|1||31/10/2012||370||Closure due to wind|
|1||27/10/2012||289||Closure due to wind|
|2||26/10/2012||64||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
|1||16/10/2012||390||Closure due to wind|
|1||05/10/2012||64||Closure due to wind|
|1||23/09/2012||486||Closure due to wind|
|1||24/09/2012||369||Closure due to wind|
|1||12/09/2012||58||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
|1||30/08/2012||208||Closure due to wind|
|1||15/08/2012||28||Closure due to wind|
|1||12/08/2012||38||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
|1||26/07/2012||24||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
|1||25/07/2012||35||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
|1||13/07/2012||24||Closure due to advice of PLA – large vessel passing|
Source: Transport for London