Restart the Hilton Docklands to Canary Wharf Ferry Service
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We demand Sadiq Khan force Thames Clippers to restart the ferry service between the Hilton Docklands and Canary Wharf.
We are horrified at the decision by Thames Clippers to suspend the provision of a ferry service between the Hilton Docklands and Canary Wharf indefinitely. The decision poses an immediate risk to public health and delivers a further blow to the prospects for economic recovery in East and Southeast London. Despite TFL’s admirable efforts to maintain a fully functioning transport service through the Covid19 crisis, this shocking decision by an affiliated party, if unchallenged and not quickly redressed, will invariably undermine future faith in London’s public transport operator.
Thames Clippers' decision breaks a vital link in London’s integrated transport infrastructure and passengers’ ability to heed government advice to get back to work safely. While networks are quiet during the summer lull, this decision will increase congestion and the risk of Covid19 spreading on the bus and tube networks when passengers unable to use the ferry service are forced back onto the network at Canada Water from September. Acknowledged overcrowding at this station has already been the cause of prior consultations on upgrading the existing river crossing, and the elimination of cross-river capacity at the Rotherhithe pinch point contravenes efforts to allow social distancing elsewhere on the network.
TFL’s long-running consultations on whether to build a river crossing from Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf highlight the pressing need for cross-river links to allow pedestrian and cycle access from southeast London to Canary Wharf. These modes of transport, favoured by the UK government in its public information response to Covid19, are now effectively blocked by Thames Clippers' decision to discontinue cross-river service.
“At present there is a lack of infrastructure to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians wishing to cross the River Thames east of Tower Bridge to access Canary Wharf. The Jubilee line is also currently operating close to capacity during peak times” , TFL said in its Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf crossing consultation report of March 2018.
Thames Clippers itself acknowledges this need.
“[Thames Clippers] acknowledge the need to improve river crossings in the area,” TFL says in the same March 2018 consultation. An enhanced river crossing is “much needed”, says MBNA Thames Clipper CEO and co-founder Sean Collins .
Despite lobbying vociferously against the plan to build a bridge in favour of an upgraded zero emissions cross river ferry service, Thames Clippers has now proved itself unfit to provide even the basic level of cross-river service which has been universally acknowledged insufficient to London’s transport needs.
The petitioners urge TFL to take whatever corrective action is needed to restore a cross-river service. This action should be an urgent priority to restore confidence in TFL’s to maintain a fully integrated transport network fit for London’s transport needs and support the effort to safely restore London’s economy to full health.
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