Mayor of London Boris Johnson is planning a Cable Car crossing for the River Thames. The project would only go ahead if financed by the private sector. It would cost an estimated £25 million and the private operator would have to be willing to charge passengers via their Oyster Cards. It would connect the O2 arena (the Dome) with the Royal Docks.

TfL have held a consultation exercise where they listed the advantages as follows:

  • Cut journey times to around five minutes between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks, linking the world's busiest music venue,O2, with the UK's busiest exhibition centre, ExCeL, both of which are
    major Olympic and Paralympic venues set to host sports such as boxing, table tennis, trampoline, basketball, wheelchair basketball.
  • Carry up to 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction across the river, providing much needed additional capacity and an alternative for local journeys, equivalent to the hourly numbers of people
    travelling through the Blackwall Tunnel by car.
  • This would provide pedestrians and cyclists with a frequent and regular service.
  • Increase the capacity of the transport network in this area.
  • It would be fully accessible and will be designed so it can be used by those with reduced mobility including wheelchair users and people with pushchairs.
  • Provide people in North Greenwich with additional access to the Docklands Light Railway and in the future Crossrail at Custom House. It will provide residents in Royal Docks with direct access to the
    bars, restaurants and cinemas in North Greenwich.
  • A low emission mode of public transport allowing the river to be crossed with no impact on air quality.
  • Attracting new visitors to east London with spectacular views along the Thames from the cabins.
  • Promote economic regeneration by creating new access to the employment, leisure and enterprise opportunities on both sides of the river including the Royal Docks.

The aim is to get it up and running in time for the Olympics.

At the last Mayor of London's Question Time, Boris said:

We are determined to advance the case for a cable car. We are trying to get there; we are getting the planning permissions and organising everything that we need to do. . Everybody listening to this debate will see the point and interest of the cable car, because it would be, truly, a fantastic thing; you would be able to move 2,500 people per hour across from the O2 to the Royal Docks, linking up the greatest live music venue in the world with this developing site. The Siemens green technology pavilion has already been green lighted there. We have lots of fantastic plans for further development of the Royal Docks. It does make sense to put this in.

The trouble is, in our current financially straitened circumstances, we are going to have to make that case to private investors, and that is what we are doing over the next few months. Although the timetable would be aggressive it is, by no means, impossible.

Labour London Assembly Member John Biggs said:

I am happy to publicly guarantee that if it is open by May 2012 I will vote for you, Boris because I know it is not going to happen!

It clearly won't be happening with any help from Mr Biggs and the nattering nabobs of negativism in the Labour Group. But relative to other transport projects the costs are tiny. I should have thought the prospect of getting a commercial return would be realistic. At any rate it wouldn't be our money at risk but that of private investors.

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