Transport bosses are hoping to boost passenger numbers on the Mayor’s flagship cable car by offering local residents cut price trips for the rest of the year.
From February 14th residents of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the London Borough of Newham will be able to make half-priced return trips on production of proof of residence.
The offer applies to both cash fares and pay as you go Oyster fares, and means adults can travel on the cable car for £3.30 return and children return for £1.70.
Up to three guests, who don’t need to be local residents, will also be able to travel at the reduced rate.
In recent months passenger numbers on the cable car have been lower than in the same period the year before.
In the week ending 7th December 2013, 15,049 passengers used the cable car, compared to 29,340 in the same week the year before.
The cable car was originally predicted to become a new regular transport mode for commuters, however Transport for London’s in-house polling reveals passengers overwhelmingly use it as an occasional or one-off day out.
Last month London Assembly Member Darren Johnson published official TfL figures showing income in the second quarter of 2013/14 was 35% lower than expected.
TfL had projected £8.3m in fare revenue in the period but, according to data supplied to London Assembly Member Darren Johnson AM, actual take was just £5.4m.
Announcing the new local residents discount, TfL’s Danny Price said: “This is a great rate to encourage those living in Greenwich and Newham to use the Emirates Air Line on a regular basis, whether it is to cross the river for work or business, to get to the many leisure activities in the areas or just for the experience and fantastic views of the city.”
Darren Johnson AM said: “Unfortunately this new policy will not make the cable car any more attractive to commuters as the price of a return trip will still outstrip that offered by the oyster multi-journey discount or multi journey pass rates of £1.60 per trip. Those rates have been in place for many months and ridership is still extremely low.”
“This move may encourage more local families to give the cable car a try over the weekends or the half term holiday, but in order to get a regular stream of commuters using it there needs to be an overhaul of the ticketing policy. By including the cable car in the oyster daily cap, travelcards and freedom passes Londoners would use the cable car in far greater numbers than we have seen so far.”
Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the London Assembly, welcomed the offer to local residents but said it “will not be sufficient to turn around the dismal passenger figures for people using the cable car.”
Ms Pidgeon added: “The cable car has largely been funded by taxpayers from across London. It is time that the Mayor and TfL finally admitted that the only way to attract regular passengers onto the cable car is to treat it as an integral form of public transport.
“Only a sensible fare structure for all Londoners will ensure that the cable car starts to attract a reasonable number of passengers. If you have a Travelcard you should not have to pay to use it and the standard fare for Oyster Pay As You Go passengers should be the same as a single bus fare.”