diamond geezer

 Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dangleway update

1) Fares

Somehow overlooked in the annual fuss about TfL fare rises was how the cost of your next aerial Thames crossing will be affected.

Cost of a single cablecar journey
Regular user£1.60£1.60£1.60£1.70
Discovery Experience---£10.70

The 10p increase for cash and Oyster journeys is very much in line with the 2.5% average fare rise overall. But be warned that if you turn up with only a bank card you'll have to pay the full £4.50 because contactless isn't yet accepted on the cablecar. Meanwhile that rare breed the 'regular user' faces a 6.3% increase, but that's after a big zero last year, and maintains the saver price at half of the Oyster fare. So, no surprises.

2) Rebranding

But what's this brand new 'Discovery Experience' which has appeared in the fare tables for the first time. Whatever it is it costs £10.70, and it's so new it doesn't officially have a price increase. A footnote explains.
The Discovery Experience Package includes a non-stop return fare with in-flight discovery film, souvenir in-flight guide and entrance to Emirates Aviation Experience.
I thought this sounded very familiar, so I checked the current website, and yes it already exists (for £10).
The Full Experience Package includes a non-stop round-trip, free entrance to Emirates Aviation Experience and a souvenir in-flight guide.
Which is exactly the same customer offer now as you'll get in January, but rebranded with a different title so that TfL can pretend there isn't a 70p price rise. Naughty.

3) Upselling

Recently this monstrosity has appeared in the entrance hall at North Greenwich station, immediately in front of the top of the escalator. You can't possibly miss it.

A spare gondola hangs from the ceiling, airline branded, beneath which is a big advert for the cablecar, "just a short walk from here". Beneath that is a list of fares (which, given all the possible combinations of single, return, Oyster, Experience and riverboat, is remarkably complicated). And below that, behind the counter of a semi-permanent red booth, is a member of staff waiting patiently to sell you a ticket. Mid-evening midweek she'll be standing around like a spare part because nobody's interested. But come at the weekend and you'll encounter a surprisingly large cluster of visitors keen to participate, chattering away because they can't read the fare list (and they wouldn't understand it anyway), proffering their credit cards in exchange for a journey pass.

It's TfL's station and they can do what they like, but this all-out grab for the tourist dollar is an uncharacteristically commercial gesture.

4) In-flight movie

Last time you travelled on the cablecar you may remember it being a quiet experience. No more. A 'feature tour' has been installed, playing on the video screen throughout your flight and blaring out from an Emirates-branded panel in the roof. Various experts (very few of whom are female) then pop up and tell you about the attractions and heritage to be found in the surrounding area, with two completely different films playing north and south. It's very professionally done, but also bloody annoying when all you really want to do is look out of the window. Top tip - tell the operator immediately before you board and they can turn it off, otherwise you're stuck with this ill-judged intrusion for eight and a half minutes.

5) Touristification

Fly into the North Greenwich terminal, descend to ground level and you'll stumble across the latest added cablecar extra - a themed photo booth. A spare cabin has been set up immediately before the ticket barrier, in one direction only, allowing you to pop in and grab yourself a souvenir photograph. Simply touch the screen to start, wriggle into place in front of the branded backdrop and you can 'collect' your souvenir photo as you exit. They very much hope you'll share it - it's not free for nothing, you know.

Also prominently positioned on the way out is a large new-ish electronic display allowing you to interact with the geographical extent of Emirates' global network, which most visitors stop and press. And then of course there's the Emirates Aviation Experience, which is a single room full of marketing material masquerading as infotainment. Northbound passengers get rather less in the way of distractions, only a rather sorry looking machine offering to dispense a souvenir Emirates coin. But next time someone tries to tell you that sponsoring the tube wouldn't be that bad, remember how tacky the cablecar is, and resist.

6) Passenger numbers

What with all this relentless focus on marketing, it won't surprise you to hear that passenger numbers on the cablecar are up, depending that is on how and when you count. Half term week had almost double the number of riders as the same time last year, and the remaining weeks of October showed an 8% rise on 2013. The first week of November, however, showed almost no change, and August saw a definite fall.

Whatever, all the evidence continues to suggest that people are riding TfL's public-funded cablecar for the view and not, as was originally intended, as a way of getting from A to B. There again, if you come after dark you can pretty much guarantee floating alone above the Thames and enjoying the twinkling lights of East London, and that beats arriving on the other side any day.

<< 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  Jul19  Aug19
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