Plans to create the UK’s first cable car to cross the River Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks were were revealed this week by Transport for London (TfL).
If the plans go ahead, the cable car would allow pedestrians and cyclists to travel between the O2 and ExCeL centres in around five minutes, cutting current travel times between the two major Olympic and Paralympic venues.
Potentially, the cable car could provide a crossing every 30 seconds carrying up to 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction, and would cross the river at a height of more than 50m, offering spectacular aerial views of the Olympic Park.
The scheme is being proposed in response to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson’s desire to increase the number of river crossings east of Tower Bridge.
It is one of a number of initiatives being considered and could open ahead of the 2012 Games, subject to funding and planning permission being secured.
The cable car would be a first for the capital and the only urban system in the UK, seeking to replicate the success of cable cars in many cities across the world such as Lisbon and Barcelona.
Boris Johnson said: ’The aim is to fund the construction of the scheme entirely from private finance and discussions are ongoing with a number of private sector organisations that have expressed interest in the project.’
The Mayor has asked TfL in collaboration with the London Development Agency (LDA) to run a public consultation on the proposal in order to garner local views on the idea.
The project is still in the early stages of development and there is still detailed work to do in finalising the design, the operating hours and the fares structure – but TfL would require any chosen operator to accept Oyster pay as you go.
The estimated construction cost is likely to be around £25m.