One of the white elephants marooned after the 2012 Olympics is Boris Johnson’s much vaunted and sponsored Emirates Air Line cable car, which crosses the Thames to link North Greenwich and Royal Docks. Costing Londoners over £60 million, the link has seen passenger volumes drop by nearly 70 per cent in the first two months of 2013.
The obvious reason for the drop is that the cable car takes you from one bread and-circuses venue, the O2, to nowhere now that the Olympics has closed. As the consultation exercise and campaigning for additional bridge, tunnel or ferry crossing points between South East and East London begin, local wags are proposing the dismantling of the cable car and its moving upstream to somewhere useful – somewhere where people actually live and could use it. However, large tracts of Bermondsey and Canary Wharf itself are mere dormitory homes Monday to Friday, and the river is wider at Bermondsey than at North Greenwich, so who would want it?
Qatari-owned Emirate Air Lines, as part of the Gulf States colonisation of London, would then have to remove its name from the Docklands Light Railway station.
Dubai Estates owns The Shard, Britain’s largest skyscraper, at London Bridge, and Qatari Diar is supposed to be redeveloping the £3 billion Chelsea Barracks site, so money will talk and Boris’s cable car remains for the present. ■ ■