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21.07.2005

Thames Clippers press release: commuters take to the Thames in wake of 7/7

 

In the wake of the terrorist outrages many commuters took to travelling by river in the days following the bombings. In the working week ending Friday 15th July passenger levels on Thames Clipper commuter services were running at more than 80% above the same time last year. For weekend travel the figures were significantly higher

 

In total more than 24,000 passengers were carried in the 7 day period ending 17th July with levels increasing throughout the week – possibly suggesting an amount of commuter anxiety rather than the fact that earlier in the week normal transport channels were yet to get back to normal.

 

Much of this increased traffic can be put down to commuters discovering Thames Clippers Riverline services for the first time. Many commuters were unaware of the schedule or where to find their local pier until the events of 7 July prompted people to reconsider their means of travel. Enquiries about timetables and fares have risen dramatically, with the number of hits on the Thames Clippers website exceeding 35,000 on 7/7. However to put the increase into context the vast majority of those who used the service for the first time on 7/7 have gone back to their normal journey to work.

 

On 7/7 Thames Clippers offered a free service until late into the night, well after the normal schedule would have ended, helping approximately 20,000 Londoners make their journey home. The provision of this emergency response was vastly aided by the launch of two new fast catamarans only three weeks previously.

 

With daily commuter passenger levels now averaging around 4,500 the whole fleet of 6 high speed vessels is being used in service with schedules being re-jigged to facilitate exceptionally high demand during rush hours where, for the first time, queues have been forming at pierheads.

 

‘While nobody would wish to grow their business for these reasons we have experienced exceptional demand since the bombings,’ said Sean Collins, Thames Clippers Managing Director. ‘Operationally we are having to review and reallocate our resources, especially among our hard pressed crew. We quickly need to recruit more staff to supply the sort of schedule that is now in demand, and we can only hope that businesses and commuters along the river keep on supporting us so we can make some permanent and sustainable changes.’

 

Early indications for this week are that traffic levels are little changed from the previous weeks. To better judge the future mood Thames Clippers will be carrying out some consumer research into changing attitudes of commuters on the river over the next few weeks.

 

For further information contact Victoria Monk 020 7740 3762 or 07813 793021.