Mayor's river cash injection following criticism
London Mayor Boris Johnson has put a boat trip to Greenwich and having a picnic in the park among his top tips for activities to keep visitors to the capital busy over Easter.
The suggestion followed his announcement last week that Transport for London will be investing an additional £10million in river services.
With the intention to double passenger numbers, the money will be spent over seven years and plans include building three new riverside piers, one at Enderby Wharf in Greenwich and two in Battersea.
"The Thames played a major part in the success of 2012 and I am determined to capitalise on these achievements and safeguard the river's central role," said Mr Johnson.
"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."
There are to be improvements to signage, information and ticketing facilities and the rolling out of real time arrivals information and a wave and pay system, aiming to integrate the river as part of London's transport network.
The Mayor and TfL had come under fire from the London Assembly for its rudderless river strategy and its failure to commit to the River Concordat. This latest sum of money addresses these concerns in part.
Liberal Democrat and London Assembly transport committee chairwoman Caroline Pidgeon said: "Confirming modest changes to river services is merely an attempt by the Mayor to divert attention away from his severe urgent cuts to emergency services.
"It certainly is no evidence that the Mayor is really committed to transforming river services that he promised Londoners five years ago."
The proposals have also generated criticism that attempts to lure commuters on to the river diverts attention from the tourism potential.
CEO of Bermondsey-based City Cruises Rita Beckwith said: "Increasing the number of passengers to 12 million will not be possible without the consideration of tourism on the Thames.
"We want to know that Londoners are being encouraged to enjoy the Thames for leisure journeys, as it really is the best way to see the sights of the capital."
Improvements to the river during the Mayor's time in office have included opening of new piers and refurbishing Greenwich Pier and Tower Piers as well as introducing Oyster pay as you go to Thames Clipper services.
River passenger journeys have risen more than 25 per cent from 5.3million in 2007/08 to 6.6 million in 2011/12.
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.
TfL's Mike Weston 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."