Boris sets out plan to increase river travel

CITY Hall yesterday ramped up its efforts to encourage more commuters to travel to and from work on Thames riverboat services, announcing a string of measures designed to make river travel as convenient as Tube and bus services.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has spearheaded a technological push to make the Thames more accessible, in particular targeting time-strapped financial sector workers travelling between the City, Canary Wharf and beyond. Commuters can now download a new iPhone application to their mobiles, including real-time information on the riverboat schedule.

TfL has also introduced real-time digital information displays at London’s 29 piers, allowing travellers to see how many minutes are left until the next Thames boat service, just as they would on the Tube or the bus. In addition, it has installed Wifi connections at the piers and on the riverboat services, allowing passengers to use their laptops to check email on the way into work.

“Boris set improving river services as one of his top priorities when he came into office,” the Mayor’s director of transport policy Kulveer Ranger said. “We want to have the best performing river services and the easiest usage possible when the world comes to London for the Olympics in 2012.”

Six million passengers currently travel on the river each year, a figure which City Hall wants to improve with the help of a new, simplified river map. It is also consulting with operators on installing new piers and increasing the capacity of the service.

A ticket from London Bridge City pier to Canary Wharf costs £2 and rivals the DLR for efficiency, taking just 13 minutes.