diamond geezer

 Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Every seven days, in the spirit of freedom of information, TfL releases information about ridership on the cable car. How many passenger journeys were there during the previous week (starting Sunday, ending Saturday), that's the question. There's a nice little table building up. And a nice little table can become a nice little graph. Like so.

The red bars are the Olympics and the Paralympics, and the blue bars are school holidays.

Take away the coloured bars and I think the pattern is obvious. It's down.

In the week immediately after the Games finished there were 49402 journeys on the cablecar. That number's been falling gradually ever since, and last week there were only 15996.

The downward trend is consistent with a decline in the weather - as temperatures fall and daylight hours decrease, there's less incentive to ride. But the downward trend is also consistent with novelty value - one ride may be fun, but there's no real reason to return.

Normally you'd expect the number of passengers using a new transport link to increase. People discover that the route exists and learn to use it as part of their regular journey options. That's what's happened with the Overground's southern extension, for example. But with the cable car the opposite is happening. People know it exists, and many have turned up for a ride, but they've only been once.

As tourist levels drop, because it's winter, cablecar ridership is drawing closer to the underlying number of regular users. But there aren't many regular users, because (as we've previously discussed) the cablecar's existence enhances very few commutes. With weekly numbers now down to 16000 a week, the number of regular daily users can't be any more than 3000.

But usage on the cablecar isn't spread evenly. Data reveals that approximately 60% of all cablecar visitors ride at weekends, and only 40% on weekdays. In a week with 16000 passengers you'd therefore expect about 1280 passengers each weekday, which equates to 100 passengers an hour. The cablecar's massive and expensive infrastructure is carrying the equivalent of one passenger a minute in each direction. TfL could run an hourly bus service and carry the same number of people... except it would sink, obviously.

Would ridership numbers increase if the cablecar was properly integrated with the Oyster card system? Undoubtedly, but again far more at weekends than during the week. Nobody needs to ride this way across the Thames, not unless all other options are temporarily suspended. The cablecar has proven to be, as we all suspected, a tourist attraction of only limited genuine use.

It's hard to say whether this week's figures mark the low point in the cablecar's annual cycle. As spring arrives ridership numbers will undoubtedly increase, as the curious return to glide high across the Thames and stare down onto Silvertown's industrial foreshore. But I doubt there'll be quite so many curious riders in 2013 as in 2012, even discounting last summer's Olympic effect, not unless something radical happens to the Dangleway's fare structure.

In the meantime I look forward to checking TfL's data page each week to see if the cablecar's finally taken off yet.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream