They have only just opened, but the cable car rides across the River Thames, between the O2 in Greenwich and the Royal Docks, are already proving a great success. The construction carries 2,500 passengers an hour – equivalent to the numbers using the Blackwall Tunnel. Most of the cost has been raised in sponsorship of £36 million from Emirates Airline. At this month's Mayor's Question Time at the London Assembly there have already been calls for more crossings.
Kit Malthouse says:
"It is a very pleasant and in fact social way to travel and it strikes me there are other parts of the city that could benefit, not just from a river crossing but from some kind of cable car connection, whether you can take it down the A2 to Bromley Town Centre or indeed, extend the network across and into Canary Wharf. I was struck by, as you say, once you are at the top, the geography of London laid out before you and there is a possibility of extending the network in the future."
Roger Evans said:
"Could I add my voice to that of Kit Malthouse and ask if you will consider extending the cable car in future, not least to my own constituency in Havering where it would make a very fine way of travelling to view the Rainham Nature Reserve when people want to go and watch a bit of wildlife."
Boris reflected whether the cable car would be "bird friendly" but supposed that birds "could avoid flying into a cable car."
On the general point Boris made clear he would like to see more crossings:
"What the Emirates deal shows is that there are people out there, and I am very, very grateful to Tim Clark [President, Emirates Airline] of Emirates and to them for supporting the Emirates Airline. It was very notable that when Tim was speaking at the opening of the cable car, he said if there are other projects around, they wants to know about it. I think they have been very pleasantly surprised by the success of their venture. Like Barclays, Emirates have been rewarded for having the guts to stick some cash into London infrastructure. Our job is not to run these companies down, not to slag them off, but to celebrate them for what they are doing to support London. If you can think of some other proposals that make economic sense, Kit, then I think you should lead the way on that."