Weekly Roundup: London Cable Car and Burnaby Gondola Updates

Post by Steven Dale

A couple highlights from around the world of Urban Gondolas, Gondola Transit, and Cable Propelled Transit:


Lesson 1 – How To Shoot Yourself In The Foot (link):

Details emerge about TfL's sponsorship deal for the London Thames Cable Car.

  • London Mayor Boris Johnson has released a letter explaining the details of the Emirates Air sponsorship deal for the London Cable Car. Of the myriad problems the letter highlights the most problematic hinges on the penalties Transport for London (TfL) may incur should the line experience “a period of poor performance once operational.” This is obviously code for “lower than anticipated ridership levels.”
  • Given that the letter explicitly states that fares for the system are “not likely to be a part of the Travelcard scheme,” we can reasonably assume this system to be pure Toy for Tourist – which readers will note from the previous link have a habit of underperforming in western, english-speaking countries (for whatever reason).
  • In other words: Unless TfL expects a mass number of tourists to use this line post-Olympics (assuming it’s built in time for the Olympics), London taxpayers could find themselves on the hook for more of this project’s cost than they anticipated. The questions that need to be asked are; 1) what are the “poor performance” conditions as described? 2) what penalties will TfL incur if the performance targets are not met? And; 3) What volume of tourists are found in this area currently? Is a gondola likely to change that?


Lesson 2 – How (Not) To Do Public Consultation (link):

  • Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart has conducted an extensive telephone survey of Burnaby residents to gauge their feelings about the controversial Burnaby Mountain Gondola. Of the almost 6,000 households contacted, more than 1,000 residents participated.
  • As we’ve discussed before, we’re no fans of Translink’s public consultation process on this project and it’s interesting to note that Mr. Stewart’s survey highlighted the fact that those “against the project had mentioned (poor public consultation) as an issue.” At 47% support, the plan is within a hair’s width of majority support. It’s worth considering how many of those against and those undecided would be for the project had the public consultation process been a little more open, comprehensive and inclusive from the very beginning.
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