London Mayor Boris Johnson has seen the opening of Emirates Air Line, the first urban cable car in the UK. The cable car service operates over the River Thames between the O2 and ExCel conference centre via two terminals – Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks. The service has 34 cabins that will be able to car as many as 2,500 people in both directions every hour.
The Emirates Air Line will operate on Mondays through Fridays from 7am to 9pm; Saturdays from 8am to 9pm; and Sundays from 9am to 9pm. These hours will be extended during local events and the Olympic Games. Passengers will be carried 90-metres above the river, with journeys taking about five minutes during peak operating hours and about ten minutes at other times. The transit will be slowed on purpose during regular operating hours to accommodate leisure users and travellers who just want to experience the cable car service.
People who want to try out the service will have to pay a £4.30 one-way cash fare. This is reduced to £3.20 for customers who use an Oyster card and Freedom Passes. Children will be able to travel on the line for £2.20, or £1.60 with an Oyster card. There will also be a frequent flyer boarding pass that will allow regular users to make ten single journeys for £16. The fares will be applied in addition to the daily capping rate of the Oyster card.
Most of the construction for the Emirates Air Line was finished in a year, and three helix towers support the 1,100-metre cable. It took up to 1,500 people to construct the cable line and over 60 people will be employed on an continued basis to operate it. About half of these people will be hired from Newham and the Royal Borough of Greenwich.
Johnson said that the service is a stunning addition to the transport network in London. It will provide a much-needed connection across the River Thames. The project supports his ambitious plans to revive the surrounding areas, which have been neglected for decades, and will create jobs for Londoners and stimulate growth. This is a great deal for taxpayers and shows that things can be achieved during tough financial times when working with the private sector. Thousands of jobs will be created, and the history of the capital shows that big economic growth has been preceded by investment in transport infrastructure.
Johnson predicts that the Emirates Air Line will become a tourist attraction and will help focus investment in east London. The service provides a beautiful view of London, and people are showing an interest in buying into it already. People are coming from around the world for the Games, and he wants them to see areas that can be invested in. The cable car will be instrumental in ensuring the long-term prosperity and development of the local area, which will undergo a huge transformation over the next ten to 15 years, he added.
Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy says that the Emirates Air Line is a viable means of public transportation. These rubbish dumps and scrap yards will be replaced with high-technology jobs and blocks of flats. They anticipate this to be seriously used as public transport now that it’s open, he added.
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