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Coronavirus: Thames Clippers river service to be withdrawn on March 28

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 31 March 2020

You won't see this after Saturday... a Thames Clipper commuter vessel skimming past Canary Wharf.  Picture: Mike Brooke

You won't see this after Saturday... a Thames Clipper commuter vessel skimming past Canary Wharf. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

The massive Thames Clipper riverboat service that normally carries around four million commuters a year between Canary Wharf and the City is being suspended from Saturday because of the pandemic crisis.

Nor this... Thames Clipper commuter run skimming past slower, traditional river transport. Picture: Mike BrookeNor this... Thames Clipper commuter run skimming past slower, traditional river transport. Picture: Mike Brooke

The national lock-down means the service is now running near-empty vessels on the commuter route.

So the company has had to shut down its operation from March 28.

“We will be suspending all Thames Clippers services temporarily until further notice,” the company’s chief executive and founder Sean Collins said.

£6m investment... one of two new clippers technically most-advanced in the world being loaded in Australia's Hobart shipyard to be transported to London in 2015. Picture: Thames Clippers£6m investment... one of two new clippers technically most-advanced in the world being loaded in Australia's Hobart shipyard to be transported to London in 2015. Picture: Thames Clippers

“This follows a significant drop in passenger demand, following the government’s directive to travel only when absolutely necessary.

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“This decision has not been taken lightly. But it is no longer viable as a privately-owned business for us to continue to run our services.”

Happier times... Hobart shipbuilders working on a new Thames Clipper in 2015, destined for London. Picture: Thames ClippersHappier times... Hobart shipbuilders working on a new Thames Clipper in 2015, destined for London. Picture: Thames Clippers

The service from Canary Wharf and other piers have been drastically reduced over the past week to keep in line with the latest travel guidance. But the company promises to resume “as soon as it is safe to do so”.

Season ticket-holders are being advised to check online at: https://www.thamesclippers.com/contact-us.

Thames Clippers, which was marketed as a quick commuter route “to avoid traffic and congestion in locations like Canary Wharf and London Bridge”, has been hit ironically by the lock-down which has also emptied the streets of congestion across London.

It invested £6 million to build two new state-of-the-art vessels in 2015 to add to its fleet of 12 high speed catamarans.

The new clippers, Galaxy and Neptune, are among the most technically-advanced fast ferries in the world, with a new hull design that reduces resistance on the river surface. They were developed with ground-breaking engineering to operate in the strong tidal conditions of the Thames while using minimal power, but are now soon to be tied up.


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