The Boris Johnson-backed Thames Cable Car designed by Wilkinson Eyre with engineers Expedition has opened today, a month before the official opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Costing £60m and taking the impressively short term of two years from concept to realisation, the 1km-long Thames Cable Car stretches across the river from the O2 Arena in Greenwich to the ExCeL Exhibition Centre.
With 34 individual pods the Cable Car will be capable of transporting up to 2,500 passengers each hour in each direction at a cash fare cost of £4.30 or £6.40 for a full round trip. It is thought that whilst the majority of travellers will use the Cable Car to get from A to B, others may wish to take advantage of the 160ft-high views across the City, Canary Wharf, Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Park. Oyster Card-holders will be able to travel for a reduced rate.
The project has secured £36m sponsorship for the next ten years from Dubai-based airline Emirates whose name is reflected in the title of the two new Cable Car stations: Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks. These will provide two key access points for visitors to the London 2012 Olympic Games as the boxing, fencing, table tennis, martial arts and wrestling events will be held at the ExCeL Centre and the gymnastic, trampoline and basketball events will be hosted by the O2 Arena.
Speaking on the Cable Car’s first flight this morning, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The Emirates Air Line is a stunning addition to London’s transport network, providing a much needed new connection across the Thames. In am sure the Emirates Air Line is now set to be a must-see destination in its own right, giving people the change to drink in breathtaking panoramic views. Crucially, the Emirates Air Line supports my ambitious plans to revive the neighbouring areas, which have been neglected for decades, creating jobs for Londoners and stimulating growth.”