The busy and popular river hub at Westminster Pier now has another tranche of services to accommodate as MBNA Thames Clippers has added the tourist hotspot to its network.
It means the biggest enhancement to the Clippers’ route in eight years and it links up with its stop to the south at the London Eye.
Westminster Pier is a popular embarkation point for tourist services and boats, like planes at an airport, have small slots for a turn-around to avoid congestion. However, TfL has made a £3.2million investment to lengthen the pier by 32m, allowing Thames Clippers to join the fray, 66 times a day during the week.
The RB1X Express service now links North Greenwich to Westminster every 15 minutes looks to join the tourist rush with a journey from Westminster to Cutty Sark taking just over half an hour.
The knock-on effect is a reduced service to and from Greenland (Surrey Quays) and Masthouse Terrace (Isle of Dogs) during the day and no off-peak services to Blackfriars.
Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO Sean Collins said: “We are committed to growing the river bus network in London and are thrilled with the extension to TfL’s Westminster pier.
“The River Thames is fast realising its potential to be one of the most reliable and efficient thoroughfares in London and MBNA Thames Clippers is investing heavily to make river travel in the capital even better in terms of speed, comfort and frequency. Yet another key area of central London now has even greater transport links.”
Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “These pier extensions are part of our commitment to making travelling by river easier. They will make a real impact in encouraging greater use of the Thames – helping cut congestion across London’s transport network."
“There has been a significant increase in river passengers and we will be continuing to look at what else can be done to increase those numbers further.”
TfL’s London River Services general manager Andy Thompson, said: “With passenger numbers continuing to climb on the Thames, it’s vital we provide the infrastructure to enable yet more growth and to ensure that people using the river can do so easily and in comfort.”
Bankside pier has also been extended, meaning that City Cruises can now start calling there. The pier is a key stop on the south bank of the Thames, allowing easy access for River Tour and River Bus passengers to attractions such as the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern.
The £1.1 million extension lengthens the pier to 70m to allow more boats to call there. A new 50 minute City Cruises circular tour is now calling at the pier five times a day, in addition to services operated by Circular Cruise Westminster and by MBNA Thames Clippers.
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