Greenwich cable car "Emirates Air Line" opens

Marge: And that was the only folly the people of Springfield ever took on... Except for the Popsicle stick skyscraper, and that 50 ft magnifying glass, and the escalator to nowhere.
- The Simpsons, Marge vs The Monorail

The new cable car connecting the O2 to the ExCel conference centre opened to the public today, with a single fare on Oyster PAYG costing £3.20 for adults and £1.60 for kids. The journey takes as little as five minutes, although the system can only handle a relatively meager 2,500 people an hour. TfL says:

The cabins provide 360 degree views taking in the City, Canary Wharf, historic Greenwich, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Park. Having taken just under a year to complete main construction works, the Emirates Air Line has a cable span of 1,100 metres boasting three soaring helix towers.

Passengers will cross the River Thames travelling at heights of 90 metres between two brand new terminals (Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks), improving connections between two world class attractions - the O2 and ExCeL, whilst in close proximity to existing Tube and DLR systems.

Journey times during commuter hours (07:00 to 10:00 and 15:00 to 21:00 during the summer) are approximately five minutes. TfL recognises that some visitors will want to experience the journey for as long as possible so the scheme will operate at slower speeds during non-commuter periods meaning a single journey could last up to 10 minutes.

Others will argue the toss over value for money and whether we extracted a good deal from Emirates, whose  rights make the Barclays bicycle scheme look modest and unobtrusive. But BC loves the cable car because any new river crossing in the east of London is to be welcomed and we always welcome a good folly. People who had other priorities, like buses or trains, should have written a song about them.

Photos coming soon...