The future of the scheme to create an upgraded ferry between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf will depend on negotiations with the Government on the capital’s post-COVID-19 transport funding settlement, Sadiq Khan said this week.
Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell asked Sadiq Khan for an update on the Rotherhithe ferry project at Mayor’s Question Time on Thursday.
Mr Khan replied that the ferry proposal “will be part of the negotiations that we have with the DfT [Department for Transport], which will be tough negotiations.
“I’m not going to pretend that the Government has not been very difficult in relation to the monies that they give to London going forward.”
Just before lockdown, Sadiq Khan was asked about the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry at the 11 March People’s Question Time event. He said that it was “full steam ahead” for the electric ferry proposal.
In the three months since the Mayor made those remarks, Transport for London’s finances have collapsed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this year TfL published a list of future contract opportunities that revealed that it expected to award the contract for “detailed design, build, supply and performance” of the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf ferry in March 2021.
For the first time, TfL put a cost on the proposal, categorising the contract value as being above £50 million.
This compares to a cost of more than £400 million for a bridge across the river linking Rotherhithe with the Isle of Dogs.
Thames Clippers will resume their riverbus service from Greenland Pier on Monday 15 June – but the ferry between the Doubletree Hotel and Canary Wharf remains suspended for now.
Sean Collins, Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO, said: “It is key that we can support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work, by providing travel in a safe and comfortable way.
“My entire team has worked incredibly hard to deploy new safety measures and to ensure our passengers have a contact-free and enjoyable commuting experience.
“The unique travel experience with Thames Clippers naturally provides good personal spacing and in addition we have reduced our passenger capacity to ensure even greater social distancing, which has allowed us to increase the number of bicycles we can carry on each boat, so those who want to cycle part of their journey can do so too.”
Transport for London has advised passengers to avoid changing between the Overground and the Jubilee line at Canada Water during rush hour, as it tries to accommodate growing numbers of travellers whilst maintaining social distancing.
Canada Water appears on TfL’s new list of the busiest stations.
For stations like Canada Water where much of the crowding is linked to the interchange between lines, TfL says “you are advised, where possible, to avoid using the station during the busiest times by taking the most direct route”.
Further sections of the partly-completed Cycleway 4 along Jamaica Road will be opened up for public use as part of plans by the Mayor and TfL to make it easier to walk and cycle when lockdown restrictions are eased.
The London Streetscape plan, announced on Wednesday, means that work on Cycleway 4 “will be accelerated with temporary measures so the Londoners can benefit from them more quickly,” according to City Hall.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The capacity of our public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges we face around social distancing.
“Everyone who can work from home must continue to do so for some time to come. The emergency measures included in our major strategic London Streetspace programme will help those who have to travel to work by fast-tracking the transformation of streets across our city.
“Many Londoners have rediscovered the joys of walking and cycling during lockdown and, by quickly and cheaply widening pavements, creating temporary cycle lanes and closing roads to through traffic we will enable millions more people to change the way they get around our city.”
London walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman and Southwark cabinet member Richard Livingstone dropped by to inspect the new cycle track on Tuesday.
Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “We’ve worked closely with TfL on this and the roundabout’s new, wider pavements, which will help pedestrians feel safer too.
“I hope that the new roundabout and the imminent completion of Cycleway 4 along Jamaica Road and Tooley Street, will encourage people to take to Southwark’s streets, both on foot and by bike.”
Roadworks continue on the remaining section of Cycleway 4 along Tooley Street and Jamaica Road.
A decision on the ‘Rotherhithe Movement Plan’ – including the Lower Road section of Cycleway 4 – is expected to be made by Southwark Council’s cabinet this summer.
Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown has given an update on plans for an upgraded ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf to replace the abandoned proposed for a walking and cycling bridge.
Mr Brown was questioned by Conservative London Assembly member Keith Prince at a meeting of the City Hall transport committee.
Asked about the cost of the ferry link, Mr Brown said: “Well, I don’t have the exact figure at the moment.
“And the reason for that is that this is in the early stages, we’re looking at what land purchases may be required and where those land purchases will be – particularly on the south side of the river.
“We’re also exploring what sort of technology might be applied and what the market could deliver in terms of the greenest possible ferry.
“It’s quite challenging because these there aren’t – when you look around the world – easily deliverable green ferries at the moment, so we might have to consider whether we at least explore the the options for some hybrid ferries in this regard.
“So there is a sort of headline number allocated to the ferry in the business plan, but it’s very much at a working level and just for some of the early stages of exploration of this.
“My imperative is to get on with this as quickly as I can, notwithstanding some of the challenges with the land purchase, and with some of the other commercial issues.
“It’s pleasing to see that we have got, good support, for example, from Canary Wharf on the north side. It I’m sure we’ll get on and deliver this and it will be a great boost for access across the river at that location.”
Pressed by Mr Prince as to when passengers might be able to use the ferry, Mr Brown said: “Well, again, that’s depends on the technology. And I’m not trying to be evasive here.
“It genuinely is a discussion that we’re having ourselves with the supply chain, with potential manufacturers – with potential operators as well actually – is how quickly we can do it.
“So I’ve pushed my team … very hard on on pinning them down to a date.
“But what I don’t want to do is give an artificially optimistic date here that can’t be delivered because we haven’t done all the groundwork yet.
“There is more work to do before I can categorically tell you that.”
Plans to extend the Santander Cycles hire scheme to Bermondsey and Rotherhithe along the route of Cycleway 4 have moved a step closer as the first locations for new docking stations have been revealed.
Planning applications for docking stations have been submitted to Southwark Council for the following locations: