Transport for London has come under fire after announcing that the Hammersmith Bridge replacement ferry will charge passengers for crossing, despite residents’ understanding that the journey would be free.
TfL confirmed there are two bids in contention to run the ferry service, both of whom will charge £1.55 per ride and children will travel free.
Hammersmith Bridge was closed to traffic and pedestrians last year after cracks were found in its structure, and is set to be closed until 2027.
Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney said: “It is a failure of national transport policy, and a complete dereliction of duty to the thousands of people who rely on Hammersmith Bridge to travel.
“For a saga that has been riddled with delay and postponement, I nonetheless welcome the encouraging news that two potential ferry operators have been shortlisted. It is good to see some progress at last.
“News that the replacement ferry service will include a fare is a tough pill to swallow for residents who have had their lives’ severely impacted by the bridge’s closure.”
The scheme was supposed to be in place by October half-term last year but those plans failed and the bidders, City Cruises and Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, have asked for extra time.
By the summer, the ferry service should be in place from 6am to 10pm with a capacity of 800 passengers an hour.
London TravelWatch director Emma Gibson said: “It’s understandable that people are feeling short-changed. If passengers are to be charged it is essential that the service is included as part of the hopper fare which runs on the buses.”
The hopper fare allows TfL passengers to make unlimited journeys on one fare for an hour.
Fixing the bridge so pedestrians can use it again will cost £46 million while a full restoration will cost at least £140 million.
The Government has agreed to some funding for repairs but the bridge is the responsibility of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
Photo credit: Images George Rex under CC license