London's River Bus To Return To Service

Thames Clippers promising a safe socially distanced transport option

Thames Clippers is set to return to service on 15 June. The operator says it has implemented a range of enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures. A full timetable has not yet been published but it is believed there will be a service restored at Putney Pier, Wandworth Riverside and Plantation Wharf as well as Chelsea Harbour.

They will be offering a bespoke timetable for the restart of service. All services will include measures in place to support social distancing at piers and on board the vessels, as well as an enhanced cleaning regime.

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.”

At peak times pre-coronavirus, Thames Clippers carried 1.4 passengers per square metre. With the new social distancing measures in place, this is reduced to just 0.85 passengers per square metre. For context, ordinarily, there were 5-7 people per square metre on the London Underground and with its current social distancing measures, TfL has managed to reduce this to around 1.3 passengers per square metre.

From a recent customer survey, 41 per cent of river commuters plan to increase their use of Thames Clippers, with more than one in five (21 per cent) citing their reason for that being that they can ‘travel in the fresh air’. In addition to plenty of space on board, including outdoor deck space and the ability to travel with bikes, fresh air will flow through the cabin while the boats are moving.

New safety and social distancing measures being introduced by Thames Clippers include:
• Fully contactless journeys for every passenger both at piers and on board
• Social distancing at piers and on board, with signage, floor markings and blocked-off seats helping maintain adequate social distancing
• Double the capacity for bikes on board for most boats in the fleet: up to 20 on the largest vessels
• PPE equipment for all staff with health and safety screenings for all crew at the start of their shift
• Implementation of Government requirement that all passengers should wear a face covering to travel by public transport, to protect crew and fellow passengers
• Onboard facilities to enable passengers to wash their hands, with NHS posters displaying the correct hand-washing procedure, or the option alternatively to use one of the five hand sanitiser stations on board
• Safe procedures in place to allow fresh air to pass through the cabin whilst the boat is underway (passengers also still have the option to sit on the outside back deck)
• The onboard bar will be open initially for takeaway orders, with new safety measures in place to protect staff and customers, including a clear glass screen at the till and only contactless payments accepted
• Touch points and surfaces on board will be regularly wiped down with cleaning wipes during service, and every vessel deep-cleaned overnight
• In addition to the daily touchpoint cleaning, the vessels will be disinfected using an electrostatic spray during out of service periods during the day (when no passengers or crew are present) as well as nightly. The cabin doors will be opened during this time to allow good ventilation. There are no hazardous ingredients in the spray – the cabin will be safe to enter immediately after use

As we begin to see more of the lock-down rules relax, people will follow a more agile way of working in the ‘new normal’ world. 70 per cent of river commuters stated that they will work more from home. Thames Clippers carnet tickets offer a flexible solution for agile workers, with 10 pre-paid journeys for the price of 9 when purchased via the Thames Clippers ticketing app. Standard journeys start from just £4.05 (East or West Zone). For full details regarding ticketing options, visit

The fleet is currently moored at Trinity Buoy Wharf and due to resume service imminently. For more information about Thames Clippers, the new timetable and safety measures, visit

*Survey of 897 Thames Clippers customers, of which 627 commuters, was carried out 6-17 May 2020

June 9, 2020