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Mayor and TfL unveil plans to double Thames passenger journeys by 2020

· £10m allocated to boost river passenger journeys to 12 million a year by 2020

· Three new piers to open, with the first at Plantation Wharf later this year

· River services already at their most popular ever, with passenger numbers up by over a quarter in the last four years

Passengers boarding a Thames Clipper
Passengers boarding a Thames Clipper
(Click on image to enlarge)

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) today unveiled a host of measures to increase journeys on the Thames, with a target of doubling the number of river passengers by 2020.

TfL’s ‘River Action Plan’ sets out the improvements that will be made to river services over the next seven years to ensure that Londoners and visitors are making the most of the capital’s famous waterway and that it reaches its full potential.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “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. That is why I have set a target to increase passenger journeys on the Thames to 12 million a year by 2020 and to maximise its potential for high quality river travel with the building of new piers and even better facilities.”

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;
  • 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, said: “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.”

Jim Trimmer, Head of Planning and Partnerships at the Port of London Authority said: “The Port of London Authority welcomes this important new initiative that brings together the different river organisations and operators. It will be a further boost to the continued growth in passenger movements on the Thames.”

Rita Beckwith, Chief Executive Officer for City Cruises PLC, said: “City Cruises welcome the publication of the River Action Plan and the importance that is being placed on the river both as a means of transport and a wonderful tourist experience. Partnership working is the only way we can achieve our goals and ensure that our great river continues to sparkle as the jewel in London’s crown.”

Significant progress in boosting river passenger journeys has already been made since the Mayor brought together over 40 organisations including boat operators, borough councils, pier owners and TfL to form a River Concordat in 2009. Major improvements at Tower Pier and Greenwich Pier and the opening of new piers at Imperial Wharf near Chelsea and St George’s Wharf in Vauxhall have already been completed. In addition Oyster Pay As You Go has been introduced on Thames Clipper services for added passenger convenience.

Notes to Editors

  • TfL’s River Action Plan is available from TfL’s press office on 0845 604 4141
  • River passenger journeys in the capital have risen from 5.3 million in 2007/08 to 6.6 million in 2011/12, an increase of 25.5 per cent
  • TfL will lead the River Concordat Steering Group to track delivery of the River Action Plan and discuss strategic issues affecting river passenger services. TfL will produce an annual River Action Plan Update to track progress
Media Enquiries: additional information from transportdesk@london.gov.uk