Local River Bus Service to be Expanded

Millions to be spent boosting numbers of Thames commuters

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The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled plans to double passenger journeys on the river by 2020, with particular emphasis on expanding the commuter service running to West London.

The current local service, which is operated by Complete Pleasure Boats runs to and from Putney Pier to Embankment taking in Wandsworth Pier, Chelsea Harbour/Imperial Wharf and Cadogan Pier.

From this summer it will have an extra pier at Plantation Wharf in Battersea, and another is planned for Battersea Power Station.

£10 million has been allocated to boost passenger numbers to 12 million a year.

TfL's River Action Plan sets out the improvements that will be made to river services over the next seven years to ensure the Thames reaches its full potential.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson says: "The River Thames played a major part in the success of a momentous 2012 and I am determined to capitalise on these achievements and safeguard the river’s central role in the future achievements of our great city."

Key improvements will include:

    • Opening three new piers, with the first at Plantation Wharf in Battersea due to open later this year. Two more piers have planning permission at Battersea Power Station and Enderby Wharf in Greenwich;
    • Improving existing pier facilities by transforming the signage, information and ticketing facilities, rolling-out iBoat real-time arrivals information and introducing the new contactless Wave and Pay ticketing on river services;
    • Ensuring that the river is a fully integrated part of London’s transport network with interchange announcements on all other relevant transport services and improved cycle parking and cycle hire facilities near piers;
    • Working with developers and planners and other stakeholders to maximise opportunities for pier improvements in order to expand and progress the true potential of the river.

Passengers will begin to see new improvements on river services as soon as this spring, with real-time arrivals information being unveiled across all existing piers and a new pier at Plantation Wharf opening in the summer. Two other piers at Battersea Power Station and Enderby Wharf have planning permission and work should begin on these shortly.

With river services more popular than ever, passenger numbers have increased by over 25 per cent in the last four years. By 2031 TfL anticipates there will be an extra 100,000 new homes and 220,000 new jobs close to the Thames creating increased passenger demand for river services. Therefore it’s important for TfL to start making further improvements to facilities now.

Mike Weston, TfL’s Operations Director, Surface Transport, says: "This is an exciting chapter for the Thames, with more and more people already using the river to commute to work or for leisure trips. As one of the most attractive ways to travel around the capital, we are fully committed to ensuring that the river reaches its full potential by creating highly visible, attractive piers with services that are easy to find, easy to use and more frequent than ever before.”

The Mayor brought together over 40 organisations including boat operators, borough councils, pier owners and TfL to form a River Concordat in 2009, and since there have been major improvements at Tower Pier and Greenwich Pier and the opening of new piers at Imperial Wharf and St George’s Wharf in Vauxhall.

Complete Pleasure Boats took over Putney to Blackfriars River Bus service at the beginning of last year, initially on a six month contract and is still running it today.

February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013