diamond geezer

 Saturday, March 01, 2014

If you'd been watching the weekly cablecar ridership figures for the last fortnight, they looked like this.

Week endingNumber of passengers
04 January 2014    23,158
11 January 201419,636
18 January 2014 15,223
25 January 201419,387
1 February 201412,852
8 February 201411,965

Figures for the week beginning 15th February should have appeared on TfL's website over a week ago, but didn't. It had been an incredibly stormy week, with cablecar services suspended due to high winds for a substantial portion of six out of seven days. Some of us were on tenterhooks to discover how the storms had affected ridership numbers, but for some reason TfL seemed unwilling to tell us. No data appeared, and continued to not appear for over a week. Was there perhaps something TfL's datamongers were ashamed of?

And then yesterday, finally, another line of the table appeared.

Week endingNumber of passengers
15 February 2014    7,033
22 February 201443,181

No surprise, the figures for the week beginning 15th February were indeed as appallingly low as some had feared. The figures were so bad that the total was as much as one third below the previous weekly record low of 10361, which had fallen in the week before Christmas. For comparison, 7033 passengers over seven days is roughly the same capacity as one full double decker bus an hour crossing the Thames, in one direction only. Obviously it's hard to pack in the punters when high winds cause prolonged suspension, but equally it's hard to attract regular customers when you can't guarantee the service will be running.

Oh, and you'll have noticed that a second line of the table also appeared. The figures for the week beginning 22nd February were much better, it being half term when parents bring their children for an aerial treat. From a record low to a total six times as great, a major down followed by a big uptick. It seems that TfL very deliberately held back their very bad figures for a week until they could release them simultaneously with some very good figures, as if to suggest that the appalling week wasn't quite so awful after all. Cynical, manipulative, but ultimately transparent. The cablecar's overall trajectory is, alas, very much downward, as I think I can demonstrate by comparing last year's figures with this.

Week ending20132014change
4th/5th January 45,192  23,158 ↓49%
11th/12th January21,13019,636↓7%
18th/19th January20,75315,223↓27%
25th/26th January15,99619,387↑22%
1st/2nd February14,75512,852↓13%
8th/9th February16,40011,965↓27%
15th/16th February26,2847,033↓73%
22nd/23rd February  51,04643,181↓15%
TOTAL  211,556  152,435 ↓28%

Let's hope the weather improves, if nothing else.

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