Tuesday 30 March 2021 3:06 pm

Uber Boat chosen by TfL to run Hammersmith Bridge ferry service

Uber Boat has been chosen by Transport for London (TfL) to run a Thames ferry service alongside the closed Hammersmith Bridge.

The boat service, operated by Thames Clippers, will take up to 800 cyclists and pedestrians across the river at a time between 6am and 10pm daily.

Read more: TfL to soon launch Hammersmith ferry service while famous bridge is closed

Uber’s ferry service is expected to be up and running by the end of summer.

In a statement, TfL said: “There will be a full programme of engagement with the local community and other river users ahead of any planning application being submitted.

“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.”

The Hammersmith Bridge was closed to vehicles in 2019 due to potentially dangerous cracks, but stayed open for cyclists and pedestrians.

Last summer, during a heatwave, it was also closed to cyclists and pedestrians as the cracks widened and fears grew of a “catastrophic failure”.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council and TfL have rowed with the government over funding to get the bridge repaired, with the London bodies believing it will cost £140m.

A government taskforce chaired by transport minister Baroness Charlotte Vere is believed to think it could be done for less.

Read more: Government report says Hammersmith Bridge may be safe to partially reopen

In December, the taskforce also released a report from engineering firm Aecom that said the bridge may be safe to reopen for pedestrians and cyclists.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council dismissed the report, pointing out that “world-leading specialist engineers” said the bridge must stay completely closed.

Sarah Olney, MP for Richmond Park and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for transport, said “the stalemate which lies at the heart of this saga remains very much in place”.

“The passenger-carrying capacity of the ferry will be significantly lower than the Bridge and for thousands of my constituents the devastation will continue,” she said. 

“We need access restored for pedestrians and cyclists at an absolute minimum but for that to happen the Government must be prepared to underwrite the cost of the permanent repairs.”

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