Monday 10 February 2020 1:21 pm

TfL takes control of Woolwich Ferry after 'unacceptable' delays

The Woolwich Ferry will be brought back under Transport for London (TfL) control after being plagued by severe delays under the current contractor.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced today that the service would be brought back into City Hall ownership at the end of the year, after deciding not to renew the contract of Briggs Marine in the long-term.

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Briggs Marine’s contract runs out on 31 March, whereby it will be extended just until the end of the year to allow TfL to be able to prepare for the transition.

The mayor said the change would allow the transport body to run an improved service, after it was plagued by more than 600 hours of delays in the first half of 2019.

“The Woolwich Ferry is an important part of London’s transport network, and I share passengers’ frustration at the unacceptable closures they have faced over the past year,” Khan said.

“I am delighted that TfL is set to take over the contract – bringing a renewed focus on Londoners’ needs including better reliability and customer service.”

TfL spent £20m last year on buying two new hybrid ferries to replace the three in service, however they soon proved to be a disaster with faults in their generators and docking systems.

The new vessels were responsible for 625 hours of delays – 26 full days – between February and August 2019, leading to strikes.

Khan admitted in November that he had “dropped the ball” on the ferries.

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“TfL have to put our hands up and admit these problems should have been sorted out in the factory, not in the River Thames,” he said.

The East London service takes passengers across the river between Woolwich and North Woolwich, and has an estimated 2 million passenger journeys each year.