A Review of the Emirates Air-Line
I think it’s only fair that I put down all my thoughts on the Emirates Air-Line, so that others can criticise what I have said.
Construction and Design
People have criticised the cost of the cable-car, but then they are not buying a cheap cable-car, but a quality one designed for a long life.
As far as I can tell, everything looks and feels right. As an example, the seats in the gondolas are very comfortable and of a standard you’d expect in a quality commuter train. The doors close tightly and there was no noise at all. There was little sway and only a slight downwards movement as the gondola descended into North Greenwich.
It took a lot to get C into something like this, but I think she’d have approved.
Ticketing and Boarding
As I showed here, there was a bit of a queue, when I arrived due to people having to buy their boarding passes.
Because I was using my Oyster card, I was allowed to bypass the ticket desks and go straight to boarding. Whether they will allow this at all times, I do not know, but it certainly meant I got the cheaper Oyster ticket (£3.20 instead of £4.30) and speedy boarding as well.
You don’t get the Emirates Air-Line free with a Freedom Pass, but you do get a discount on the ticket if you queue up at the ticket office. Judging by the number of people I saw in their last third of life at the system, it will be popular, as it gives such wonderful views if the city. But let’s face it, the cost is only a pound more than a cappuccino in Starbucks.
It really was very smooth and probably more so than the system in Singapore, that I travelled on with C. That system incidentally costs £13.0 for a round trip, whereas a return ticket on the Emirates Air-line is £6.40.
I thought you might get intrusive adverts, but you only got the odd subtle ones, like “Thank you for using the Emirates air-line”. I can live with that.
I saw three wheel-chair passengers in the short time, I was there and one, who I think was from North America with a really hi-tech wheelchair, said it was very good. They also have lifts at both ends to get to the loading point, which means that anybody on crutches or sticks, should have no trouble getting on. There was plenty of staff about, but remember it is early days. On the other hand, the contractor, MACE, is operating the system at present and I suspect they’d like to sell more based on their experience with the Emirates Air-Line.
With my experience of project management, I’ve seen few projects with as high an overall standard as this one.
There is a major small problem with the overall system and that is that kids will love it. Or mine certainly would have done! So parents might get a bit fed up with being pestered for a ride.
I also think that a few more cafes and restaurants at the Royal Docks end are needed. But that is not really a problem, but an opportunity.