Less than half of all passengers using the Thames cable car plan a return visit within the next six months, according to polling conducted by Transport for London.
The Mayor and TfL launched the cable car last year as an addition to the capital’s transport network.
Despite seeing high popularity during the Olympics, passenger numbers have since fallen and the scheme has failed to attract regular weekday use.
According to official statistics, most passengers riding the cable car do so at weekends and during school and public holidays. A recent Mayoral briefing document confirms that usage patterns are more “consistent with a tourist attraction rather than a commuter service.”
The customer satisfaction surveys were published this week on the TfL website without an official announcement.
TfL’s failure to publicise publication of the full surveys is in stark contrast with its decision in April to issue a press release claiming high levels of passenger satisfaction. It had previously refused to provide the surveys to this site under a Freedom of Information request or via its press office.
Although the latest survey reports 79% of passengers rate the service “either 9 or 10 out of 10” when asked to score the overall experience, it also reveals dissatisfaction with value for money and low levels of planned repeated use.
The poll, conducted between September 2012 and January 2013, reveals that just 56% consider the cable car to offer value for money, in part driven by a quarter of passengers saying the approximately 10 minute journey time is too short.
The survey also notes that “around 8 in 10 are using the service for the first time” and that only 43% of passengers plan to use it again within 6 months. Among Londoners the number rises to 51% but 40% of all visitors and 38% of Londoners say they “don’t know” if they’ll return to the cable car at all.
Londoners are less likely to be satisfied with their overall experience with just 76% scoring the scheme 9 or 10 out of 10. Satisfaction levels for those living elsewhere in the South East, UK and living overseas are 83, 86 and 81% respectively.
TfL has so far spent £150,000 polling local businesses, residents and passengers for their views on the cable car. Further polls of 600 interviewees will be conducted each quarter.