Cable Car Passenger Numbers Still Falling

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 118 months ago

Last Updated 10 July 2014

Cable Car Passenger Numbers Still Falling


It's been a while since we checked in with the cable car and its much derided passenger numbers. With Monty Python in residence at the O2, we thought this would be as good a time as any.

For the week ending 5 July 2014, 30,273 passengers used the service (the ageing comics started their run on 1 July). For the same week in 2013 there were 40,923 passengers. Michael Buble played five dates that week — are his fans more likely to start their night out with an aerial trip across the river? (Nobody can end their night that way since it shuts at 9pm.)

Looking at the year to date, the most passengers came the week ending 19 April (Easter), with 55,054. Easter 2013 attracted 49,200 passengers, but 2013's half terms beat 2014: the week ending 22 February 2014 saw 43,181 riders and the week ending 31 May 2014 43,154; the week ending 23 February 2013 brought in 51,046 riders, the week ending 31 May 2013 51,867. There's only one other week so far in 2014 where ridership tops 40,000 (12 April, also the Easter holidays, with 41,477); in fact, there are only three other weeks where ridership tops 30,000. Ten weeks broke the 30,000 barrier in 2013. Average weekly passenger numbers in 2014 so far are 24,737; for the same period in 2013 average passenger numbers were 29,573.

In an interview with LBC last week the Mayor — while failing to remember how much a ticket is — insisted the cable car covers its operating costs, which may indicate things have tightened up since reports in February 2013 that it was losing £50k a week. Draft TfL accounts (PDF) for the last financial year says fare revenue fell slightly to £5m and there's still the build costs to take into account: Emirates' £36m sponsorship is being paid over 10 years and, with the exception of an EU grant of £8m, Transport for London stumped up the rest of the £60m cost itself.

Photo by Arpad Lukacs from the Londonist Flickr pool