In praise of the Greenwich cable car – and the cheap annual ticket

It’s everyone’s favourite transport mode to mock and a remnant of Boris Johnson’s tenure as London’s idiot-in-chief, but is the cable car really that bad?

Sure, it’s no serious transport option for many. And yes the official name of the IFS Cloud Cable Car is painfully awkward (Diamondgeezer’s term “Dangleway” is really the only thing to call it).

Descending to the docks

But you know what, I’m going to defend it. And I’m particularly going to since I found out that you can get ten trips for £17 over a 12 month period. That’s less per trip that a bus journey people.

Rather than stopping every 10 yards on a sweltering bus and being stuck as “we wait here while the service is being regulated”, we can instead waft above the Thames looking at the myriad changes in east and south east London for 5p less per journey. And it has air con.

Cheap? Yes!

OK, I admit that’s not exactly a useful comparison for most journeys and my trips will mostly be to take photographs for this website, but still, a once a month trip over the Thames for £1.70 a pop can’t be that bad? And in addition, you can now travel on it free before 9:30am each day with a bike.

For those of us who are fascinated by London’s ever evolving nature, it’s a fantastically interesting sojourn over the river. Industry hanging on. Some being swept away. New homes. New schools. The DLR meandering around. It can all be seen. It offers views over an area in constant flux.

It’s seen some hefty price increases too for the tourist market (£12 return compared to £17 for ten trips) and yet still sees little reduction in usage from a few years ago according to TfL’s passenger usage data.

After all it’s one of the few transport modes now doing better than pre-pandemic in 2019. And when Knight Dragon pull their finger out and build more homes on Greenwich peninsula, they’ll be more punters. The thing was actually pulling its weight and not running at a loss even before those price increases for one-off or return trips.

North Greenwich remains mostly a sea of tarmac

Oh, and to get the ticket for ten trips? Go to the booth either side and just ask. Jobs a good ‘un.

Not bad at all for locals then. And the tourists subsidise it!

Homes, schools and much more

From up there you can see the growth in homes along the Woolwich Arsenal DLR branch around Silvertown and Canning Town.

The Silvertown tunnel (boo) is also ever clearer to make out. It’s not hard to envisage the congested streets when it does open.

Then to the south we see Greenwich peninsula’s endless car parks (boo again) but at least there’s some signs of life at building new homes, albeit on a limited scale and 25 years and counting after this area saw the Millennium Dome begin.

So yeah, go take a trip. It’s great really. Nowhere else is offering ever changing views like this for £1.70 a pop.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

2 thoughts on “In praise of the Greenwich cable car – and the cheap annual ticket

  • I would not call it cheap: an unnecessary vanity project like the garden bridge. Did cost the taxpayer around £60m to build – of which TfL paid £15.5m, money they wish they had right now. Costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to run and maintain every month.

  • To be fair, £60m is nothing in the world of transport projects, it actually paid for itself and it still makes a profit despite the sponsorship deal not being as lucrative.


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