Transport for London (TfL) has today revealed figures showing that over 4.4 million passengers used London's river services between May and September of this year compared to 3.5 million for the same period last year - an increase in passenger numbers of nearly 25 per cent.
News of the figures comes after a successful 12 months for London's river services, with recommendations from the Mayor's River Action Plan put into action, resulting in more frequent services and an improved customer experience. The popularity of the river was given an additional boost by September's Totally Thames festival, a month-long celebration of 'all things river' that was attended by an estimated 2.9 million people.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
'The River Thames has played a significant part in the history of our great capital, and I want to ensure it plays a key role in our future as well. That is why I am delighted that the number of people travelling on the river is up a quarter on last year, with passengers benefitting from an ever improving service. We need to continue to build on this success, and with new piers in the pipeline the Thames is set to become an even more integral part of life in the capital.'
As the autumn half term approaches TfL is now encouraging visitors to the capital and Londoners to take advantage of a variety of river ticket deals for a fun family day out.
These offers include:
There is also still the opportunity to see HippopoThames, commissioned as part of last month's Totally Thames festival and the first UK commission of renowned Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. It has been installed at St Katharine Docks until the end of October.
Andy Thompson, TfL's Head of London River Services, said:
'It's fantastic to see the growing number of people experiencing the joys of the river and there is every indication this will continue. The weather may be changing but there's still a lot of fun to be had on the River Thames, whether your journey is for business or pleasure.'
As summer gives way to autumn and winter, a useful TfL guide is being published which provides new timetable information for all River Bus and River Tours services. The guide will be available from some piers and Underground stations. Autumn is a great time to be out on the river in the snug, warm boats. From commuting on the River Bus to leisurely sightseeing and dining River Tours the river offers a great experience for everyone.
TfL and the Mayor of London are committed to making the most of the River Thames and launched a River Action Plan in 2013 that will see £10m invested, with the ambitious aim of increasing the number of people travelling on the river from 6.5 million to 12 million by 2020. The plan sets out a range of improvements to piers and passenger information. TfL will also seek to better promote river services and work more collaboratively with partners such as boat operators, property developers and London and Partners. As part of this plan TfL has already delivered real-time next boat information to piers served by River Bus services, allowing passengers to time their arrival at a pier to catch the next service. Improved passenger information continues to be rolled out at all river piers, with clearer transport interchange information ensuring the river is better integrated with the rest of the transport network. Embankment and Westminster piers are being upgraded with improved lighting, flooring and signage. Work to increase passenger and berthing capacity at three key piers - Bankside, Embankment and Westminster - is well underway and will be completed next year. A number of new pier infrastructure projects are also progressing well. These include new piers at Battersea Power Station and Plantation Wharf, with the latter due to open next year. Plans for piers at Convoys Wharf in Deptford and Enderby Wharf in Greenwich are also underway..
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