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Friday, 29 June 2012

Service "suspended"

Today London's newest transport service commenced operations. The Emirates Air Line, a brand new cable car across the River Thames, carried its first passengers this morning, with a press launch, before opening to fare paying passengers at midday.

It is less than two years since the project was announced. It runs from North Greenwich to Royal Victoria Dock - about 1km in length and some 90m above the Thames. It is the first urban cable car in the UK, can carry some 2,500 passengers an hour (about the same as the Blackwall Tunnel carries), and is sponsored by Dubai-based airline Emirates.

There was never any specific intention to include Emirates Air Line as part of the transport for the Olympic Games despite media suggestions to the contrary but an extremely fast design, approval and construction programme has brought it into service ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

Testing and certification was complete during June and was able to open for business today.

Mayor Boris Johnson, plus other VIPs including Tim Clarke, Emirates' President were aboard the first cabin to cross the Thames, heading south to a large press contingent waiting at Greenwich. After the speeches we made several trips across the Thames where, happily, the sun came out, and allowed us extraordinary views in all directions. Landing aircraft for City Airport flew over us, DLR trains, buses and boats scurried beneath us, whilst the queue for rides outside grew. The Mayor was clearly delighted with this newest addition to the transport network.

After press interest was satisfied, there was a continuous passage of invited guests followed by the long-awaited opening to the public.

The views are amazing, the ride is smooth and the whole experience one of quality. The Emirates Air Line is fully integrated into the TfL network - you can use Oyster to pay for journeys, it is fully accessible, and of course appears on the Underground map.

It's London's newest tourist attraction!


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4 comments:

  1. "The Emirates Air Line is fully integrated into the TfL network - you can use Oyster to pay for journeys"

    If by "fully integrated" you mean a 5+ minute walk from any other transport at both ends for a premium fare, then yes it is "fully integrated". It's not a usage I'd be comfortable uttering though.

    As for appearing on the tube map, surely the at least equally fully integrated riverboat services* and fuller than fully integrated Tramlink network have a greater argument for inclusion?

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  2. It is the first urban cable car in the UK

    Technically true. But we had cable cars in the middle of St Helier in Jersey twenty years and more ago...

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  4. Also if by "fully integrated" you mean "with its own fares structure, and not accepting Travelcards".

    However you look at it, that aspect is a complete nonsense.

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