London’s river bus operator, MBNA Thames Clippers, is celebrating carrying its 40 millionth passenger ahead of its 20th birthday next year.
With turnover of £24m and a staff of nearly 400, the company’s 17 fast ferries will be joined by the 18th and largest catamaran in the fleet at the beginning of 2019 – Venus Clipper.
The new craft, designed with commuters in mind and constructed by Wight Shipping Co, represents a £3.8m investment for MBNA Thames Clippers and should enable the river bus service to carry an additional 300,000 passengers annually. It is a far cry from the company’s humble beginnings in 1999, where one vessel carried just 80 passengers on the first day of operation.
With more and more Londoners choosing to travel by river for work and leisure, MBNA Thames Clippers has also invested in new piers to improve the passenger experience and to widen access to the river routes, including a replacement pier at Westminster in 2016 and an all-new pier at Battersea Power Station in 2017.
Future developments include a new pier at Trinity Buoy Wharf to service the rapidly expanding residential developments between Canning Town and the Thames, and another at Royal Wharf due in 2019.
Sean Collins, CEO and co-founder of MBNA Thames Clippers, said, “What an incredible ride this has been. It is amazing to think that the small operation we started 19 years ago would grow so quickly into a multi-million pound company, employing hundreds of Londoners and becoming an established and integral part of London’s transport mix.
“I passionately believe that the River Thames is chronically underused by London and that our great capital could and should be making much more of our oldest cross-London transport route. As traffic and congestion on the roads continues to pose threats to the capital’s economic competitiveness and well-being, it makes sense to move more passengers on to the water.”
Article from The Thames Guardian, published by the River Thames Society.