Proposals received for Hammersmith ferry service

23 February 2021
"This ferry will restore the vital cross-river connection between Hammersmith and Barnes, and allow repair work to be done on Hammersmith Bridge at the same time"

TfL has received proposals from two bidders in its competition to determine who will provide a cross-river ferry service near Hammersmith Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, while the vital link undergoes essential repairs and refurbishment works.

City Cruises and Uber Boat by Thames Clippers are the operators who have submitted detailed bids.

Local residents - and the general public - will be able to use a ferry that will run between 06:00 and 22:00 on weekdays and an off-peak service on weekends.

The service is expected to have a minimum capacity of around 800 passengers per hour at peak times. Fares are expected to mirror buses at £1.55 with a Hopper option and the same concessions accepted, subject to necessary approvals.

After a wider funding package was agreed with the Government, TfL urgently began a procurement process to appoint an operator to run the ferry. Those applying to carry passengers across the Thames were asked to demonstrate appropriate experience of running similar and relevant services.

A rigorous assessment process has resulted in two detailed proposals covering design, delivery and the running of the service. This includes the location of the piers, the type of boats that would be used and customer service standards.

Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce

The winning bidder is due to be announced in March. Additional time requested by some of the firms taking part in the procurement process to ensure a high quality submission, means it is unlikely that the ferry will begin operating before the summer.

When an operator is chosen to run the ferry next month, it will be possible to set out the programme in more detail.

The contract award and delivery of the ferry service is also dependent on TfL securing agreement from Government that financial support will be provided for the delivery and operation of the ferry.

TfL is working with other members of the Hammersmith Bridge Taskforce to agree a long-term solution that would fully reopen the bridge to all road users.

Already £16.7m has been spent by TfL on investigations, feasibility, design, monitoring and early works, and a further £4m committed to repair work that is now underway.

Vital cross-river connection

Improvements to traffic lights and local bus provision are helping to keep people moving in areas affected by the bridge closure. This has included a recently introduced route, the 533, running between Hammersmith Bus Station and Lonsdale Road, being boosted from two to six buses per hour during peak times.

David Rowe, TfL's Head of Major Projects Sponsorship, said: 'We are working at pace to get a temporary ferry operating to ease the upheaval and inconvenience caused by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge.

'This ferry will restore the vital cross-river connection between Hammersmith and Barnes, and allow repair work to be done on Hammersmith Bridge at the same time. We look forward to appointing one of these shortlisted operators in the coming weeks and then having people onboard boats as soon as possible.'

Notes to editors

  • The biggest tour boat operator on the River Thames, City Cruises provides tourism and leisure passenger services on the River Thames with more than four million passenger journeys taking place every year on its route through the heart of London, with additional operations in York and Poole. City Cruises parent company, Hornblower UK Holdings Ltd, an American dining and excursion cruise operator based out of San Francisco, are the largest river and harbour cruising company in the US. They run popular river cruises, harbour cruises, whale watching trips and ferries throughout North America including iconic trips to Alcatraz in San Francisco, The Statue of Liberty in New York and Niagara Falls in Canada
  • Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is the leading River Bus service on the River Thames. Pre-COVID-19 services ran at 20-minute intervals between key London piers including North Greenwich for The O2, Greenwich, Canary Wharf, Tower, London Bridge City, Westminster, and London Eye (Waterloo), as well as several residential piers. Originally founded in 1999 with one boat running between Greenland (Rotherhithe) and Savoy piers, in 2006 AEG, owners and operators of The O2, acquired the majority stake in the company and since then the fleet has grown substantially to 20 vessels. In April 2013, the company won the contract to run a River Bus service from Putney to Blackfriars. This route operates under licence from Transport for London and boats now also stop at Wandsworth Riverside Quarter, Chelsea Harbour and Cadogan piers, bringing the total to 23 piers across the capital. Now 22 years on from its launch, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers' pre-Covid passenger numbers had reached 4.3 million in 2019. Passengers are able to use contactless payment, Oyster to pay as you go and now pre-book via the Uber app as well as the existing Thames Clippers Tickets app to travel with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, making river travel even easier