Hammersmith ferry service plans ditched

·2-min read
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers had been selected to run the Hammersmith ferry service (Uber/ George Sharman GSP)
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers had been selected to run the Hammersmith ferry service (Uber/ George Sharman GSP)

Plans for a ferry across the Thames at Hammersmith have been ditched.

The Hammersmith bridge taskforce decided to halt proposals to link Hammersmith and Barnes by boat after the bridge reopened to pedestrians and cyclists in July.

The ferry proposal had been at an advanced stage, with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers selected to run the service – which would have taken 90 seconds and cost £1.55 a trip – and planning applications submitted to build temporary piers on both sides of the river.

But Transport Minister Baroness Vere said the taskforce–which includes the Government, Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham council –decided on Wednesday to halt the ferry proposals.

This was after “positive updates” on the council’s plans for stabilisation and strengthening works on the 134-year-old cast iron structure, she said.

She tweeted: “The bridge remains open to pedestrians + cyclists & it’s clear a ferry service is very unlikely to be needed. The decision was therefore ratified for TfL to cease preparations for a ferry service at this time.”

However the full repair of the bridge remains unfunded and residents in Barnes fear being cut off from central London again if it has to close once more to enable additional works to take place.

The bridge first closed in April 2019 to motorists, and then also to pedestrians and cyclists in August 2020, amid fears it was at risk of collapsing.

After some repairs, engineers decided the bridge structure was stable enough to allow people to cross on foot or bike – effectively removing the need for the ferry, which had run almost a year behind schedule.

TfL said the taskforce was “working together to agree a funding package for the full repair” and said the repairs were “not expected to require any significant closures of the bridge”.

The bill to fully restore the bridge to enable it to carry vehicles has previously been estimated at £141m.

A TfL spokesman said: “After a review into whether the proposed temporary ferry was still required, the Hammersmith bridge taskforce agreed that there is no longer a need for the service.

“We will continue to work closely with the Government and the council to ensure people can continue to cross the river in Hammersmith.”

A spokeswoman for Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The Hammersmith bridge taskforce agreed that there is no longer a need for a ferry service now that Hammersmith and Fulham has been able to re-open Hammersmith bridge to pedestrians, cyclists and river traffic.”

Hammersmith and Fulham council expects to complete stabilisation works to the bridge in less than a year, at a cost of £6m, which it says is £24m less than previously thought. Details of the council’s latest plans are here.

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