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clipper boat approaches on a sunlit thames at dawn, tower bridge stands proud in the background with grey clouds overhead

Thames Clippers return to the river as lockdown eases

Uber Boats by Thames Clippers returned to the river last week, taking happy commuters back to the office.

The boats take commuters, pleasure-seekers, and tourists across the city from Putney to Woolwich, but services were suspended since December after lockdown left the company without regular passengers.  

Sean Collins, CEO of Thames Clippers, started the service 22 years ago because he felt the Thames was underused. 

He said: “We are all excited to come back and reignite London’s economy!

“Whoever is elected as Mayor, I’d like them to really focus on what the river can deliver.

“I’d like them to support river services in the same way they support any other form of transport going green.”

The relaunch saw fare increases, with a 6.5% hike on Central and East zone season tickets.

However, Thames Clippers encourage using their Carnet option which allows customers to buy up to 20 flexible pre-paid tickets at a discount.

It was also announced last Tuesday that TfL has appointed Thames Clippers to run the ferry service for Hammersmith Bridge, with fares expected to mirror buses at £1.55.

Londoners rely on the service as an alternative way to travel, with 4.3 million passengers riding annually pre-pandemic.

Alex Rhys-Taylor, 40, a lecturer at Goldsmiths, said: “It’s quite a bit more expensive, but given we are all going in a bit less, it’s manageable.

“It’s very hard to arrive at work with the same sort of frustration and anger you get riding the tube.

“I don’t want to say it’s too great because everyone will start using it.”

Catherine, an accountant from Surrey Quays, added: “This was a treat.

“You can sit outside and it’s not jam-packed. 

“I live by the river so it’s a no brainer.”

The clippers saw an uptake in journeys by school children last September, as concerned parents sought a safer alternative to buses and tubes.

The company has run a dedicated service for Westminster and City of London pupils for 20 years, and they hope to continue the upward trend in school-run users going forward.

Featured Image: Callum Cuddeford

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