LondonUnlocked

The Emirates Air Line has opened

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From TfL:

The Mayor of London today unveiled a brand new way to travel across the Thames as the Emirates Air Line - the UK's first ever urban cable car - took its first passenger flight.

The innovative addition to the capital's transport network provides a much-needed new river crossing in east London, affording spectacular bird's eye views of the city.

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.

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The £45m project (offset by Emirate's £36m 10-year sponsorship deal) can carry over 2,500 people per hour in each direction and takes 5 minutes to cross the river.

Single cash fares sit at £4.30 and those on Oyster pay £3.20 which, given the length of journey time, puts in far more in the category of the London Eye than that of a London Bus.

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However, we have a bit of thing for cable cars at LondonUnlocked (the truly interested can find an archive of our articles here).

We think they're a great way of getting about, cheap (although this wallet busting scheme has gone against the grain in that regard), and fun. Taking a ride over east London yesterday was certainly that.

But what will the future of this project be, post Olympics? A white elephant, or a proof-of-concept for a more profitable (and useful for commuters) run into, say, Canary Wharf? Only time will tell although, having soared over the Thames yesterday, we're certainly hoping the latter. Providing, that is, that the Mayor and TfL can demonstrate an ability to keep costs under control that was sadly missing in this project).