Transport for London appoints Serco to operate the Woolwich Ferry service

12 September 2008
"We are proud to have the opportunity to operate the Woolwich Ferry"

We are proud to have the opportunity to operate the Woolwich Ferry

The contract, worth £10.7m, over 18 months to 31 March 2010, was signed by the two parties today.

Serco will take over running the ferry service from the London Borough of Greenwich, which announced in March that it would cease operating the service from 30 September 2008.

The Woolwich Ferry provides a free service, carrying road vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists between Woolwich and North Woolwich, and linking the North and South Circular roads across the River Thames.

The ferry also provides an important link to the Docklands Light Railway. 

Ferry staff will be transferred from the London Borough of Greenwich to Serco under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) arrangements.

London's river links

TfL's London River Services will continue to own and finance the Woolwich Ferry, while Serco will be responsible for maintaining and operating the boats and infrastructure. 

Andy Griffiths, Head of London River Services said: 'We are delighted that Serco has come on board to operate the Woolwich Ferry, a vital free service used by a million vehicles and two million passengers a year to cross the Thames.'

Mike Tyrrell, Director of Serco's marine services business, said: 'We are proud to have the opportunity to operate the Woolwich Ferry.

'It is a critical part of London's transport network, and we are looking forward to working with ferry staff to deliver improvements to the service, applying our experience in both marine operations and transport operations in London, most notably the Docklands Light Railway.'

The timetable of the Woolwich Ferry service will remain unchanged.

Notes to editors:

The Woolwich Ferry is a free ferry service across the River Thames which is owned and financed by TfL's London River Services. It carries approximately 20,000 vehicles per week, or one million vehicles per year. The origins of the ferry service can be traced back to the 14th Century, and the free service began in the 1880s
  • The provision of the ferry service is a statutory duty for TfL under the Metropolitan Board of Works (Various Powers) Act 1885
  • The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) preserve employees' terms and conditions when a business or undertaking, or part of one, is transferred to a new employer
  • Serco is an international services company which combines commercial know-how with a deep public service ethos. The company improves services by managing people, processes, technology and assets more effectively. Serco has extensive experience in public transport and marine services. For example, the company is responsible for putting the Royal Navy to sea at its main UK naval bases, and has operated the Docklands Light Railway since 1997, helping to deliver major improvements to the service in that time