River Bus Passengers Increase by 130%

Service from Fulham to Blackfriars proves major success

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The Putney to Blackfriars River Bus Service, which includes the pier at Chelsea Harbour/Imperial Wharf serving passengers from Fulham, has seen a 130% increase in passenger numbers since being re-launched in April last year.

In response to this increase in passenger demand an additional two morning and three evening sailings have been introduced.

These positive statistics are part of newly released figures from last year showing that overall it was a record year on the river, with passegers on the River Bus and River Tours services increasing to 8.5 million.

The River Action Plan, launched in February last year, detailed a host of measures designed to increase the number of river passengers to 12 million by 2020.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says: "The River Thames plays an integral role as both a key artery for commuters and a wonderful avenue for tourists too. That is why I am delighted that a record number of passengers used the river last year, benefitting from our clearer timetables and improved routes.

"We are nevertheless looking to the future with plans to build further new piers and to expand existing facilities, remaining on course to reach 12 million passengers travelling on the Thames by 2020."

A number of new pier infrastructure projects are also progressing well as new riverside developers move forward with their plans. These include new piers at Battersea Power Station and Plantation Wharf, which are due to open later this year. Plans for piers at Convoys Wharf in Deptford, Enderby Wharf in Greenwich and the western side of North Greenwich Peninsula are also underway.

Asembly Member Richard Tracey

Assembly Member for Wandsworth & Merton, Richard Tracey, pictured on one of the boats, said: "Brilliant news on Putney to Blackfriars river buses, which will get even better when the new piers are operating in Battersea and Nine Elms".

Better passenger information continues to be rolled out at all river piers, with clearer transport interchange information to ensure the river is better integrated with the rest of the transport network.


Real time boat information is also now available for River Bus services at all piers, online and via text messaging. A pilot project upgrading the look and feel of piers is being delivered at two piers, Embankment and Westminster, to make the piers more visible and to improve passengers’ experience when using river services, including the delivery of clearer signage, better flooring and improved lighting.

Building on the last 12 months’ success TfL and the River Concordat are planning on maintaining the momentum gained since the launch of the River Action Plan last year. Efforts to improve integration with the rest of the transport network will continue through the progression of contactless ticketing on river bus services and the introduction of cycle facilities at the minority of piers where these are not already in place.

The River Concordat Steering Group will continue to address strategic issues on the River Thames that impact on river passenger services, including boatyard capacity.

The Mayor brought together over 40 organisations to form a River Concordat in 2009 and appointed Richard Tracey AM as the Mayor’s Ambassador for River Transport, charged with boosting its growth.

It is an agreement between the Port of London Authority (PLA), boat operators, pier owners, boroughs, TfL and the Greater London Authority that sees all organisations working together to improve passenger services and increase the number of people travelling on the River Thames.

February 28, 2014