New Cable Car to Be Built Across the Thames for Olympics

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You can't drive to London's 2012 Olympics this summer unless you are a VIP, but you may be able to take a cable car. The new cable car system will be 1 km. long and will span the Thames River in the eastern part of the city. The view will be amazing.

Up to 2,500 people will be able to use the cable cars every hour — the equivalent of 30 buses. A pod will leave every 30 seconds. It will take spectators between the O2 centre on one side where Olympic gymnastics and basketball finals are held, to across the river to the ExCel centre which will be a venue for seven Olympic events and six Paralympic sports.

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Three steel pillars almost 100 metres tall have already been erected. They will support the 34 gondolas as they cross the river.

It will be known as the Emirates Air Line because of a £36 million sponsorship deal with the Dubai air line.

The cable car will carry up to two million people a year. It is not yet known what a trip will cost, but it will definitely be payable by Oyster, the pay-as-you go card.

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It's not cheap, of course nothing Olympic ever is. The cost of the project has soared from an estimated £25million last year to £60m now and still counting. As for record breaking firsts: it's the first urban cable car in the UK and the most expensive of its kind in the world.

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How green is a cable car?

Well, it will take the place of driving and will be much faster. It is bicycle friendly and wheel chair accessible. Cable cars are a low emission form of transport. It is an addition to a public transport system. The system will also encourage regeneration of the eastern part of London.

Tags: Carbon Footprint | Environmental Footprint | London | Olympics | Transportation