River Taxi Service to be Withdrawn from December

MD blames losing out on the St George's Wharf Pier contract

The River Taxi service which has proved popular with Fulham residents living in and around Imperial Wharf is being withdrawn.

In an email Adrian Allworth, the MD of Thames River Taxi's announced that the service from Putney to Blackfriars would end with effect from the last trip in the evening of Thursday December 22, 2011.

In his email he stated that: "The primary reason for this decision is that we were not successful in our bid to service the new St George Wharf Pier at Vauxhall which opened recently. Thames Clippers were successful and have launched their new service, Service West. They are providing a regular service between Vauxhall and Blackfriars which we were not able to match.

As a responsible, professional and customer-oriented company, we recognised that we would not be able to compete against the £20 million investment that AEG (the owners of the O2 Arena) have put into Thames Clippers to date. The 60 seater Thames Cats which were part of their original fleet will suit an up river service. Consequently we had to reach the decision to stop operating this service and focus our efforts on our successful, profitable private charter business which is developing strongly both in London and in the Windsor/Maidenhead area."

The current route

He continued: "We have come up with several proposals to renew and expand our operation but these are just not fundable as a combined public / private service in this current market and with speed limits a new approach is necessary. We did have a meeting with London River Services (a subsidiary of Transport for London) on 7th September to advise them of our decision to stop operating the service and the reasons for it but they are unable to assist financially within the current structure.

" There will now be a tender process to find a successor and we will be helping Ed Langley, owner of the Henley and the Viscount, to put forward a suitable offering to continue the service, though until due process is completed this can't be guaranteed."

He said he was disappointed that the service has to end and that the company would be concentrating on their business in the Windsor & Maidenhead area. He confirmed that all season ticket customers going beyond Christmas will be reimbursed if Ed Langley cannot continue the service "on a pro-rata basis along with any carnet ticket which still has remaining valid trips outstanding".

Richard Tracey, Assembley Member for Wandsworth & Merton told PutneySW15.com:
" This is very sad news. It is the first I have heard of this after being in close touch with TEC directors, trying to help in their efforts to refinance and build new boats. There is no doubt that there is great enthusiasm and support for boat transport right along the Wandsworth riverside from Putney through Battersea to the borough boundary, with new plans and piers on the horizon."


He continued: " I feel sorry for the loyal band of river travellers from Putney and Wandsworth Riverside Quarter who have used the TEC service over the years, as well as those across the river in Fulham and Chelsea Harbour.  It is a pity that TEC see their business as being hit by Thames Clippers coming to Vauxhall St George, some distance downstream. I shall now ask Thames Clippers if they can pick up the service from Putney. I wish TEC well with their cruiseboat and charter work."

Thamesfield Councillor Jim Maddan said:
" I fully endorse the comments of Richard Tracey.  I will be working with Richard, Justine Greening and my fellow councillors to ensure that a replacement service is up and running as soon as possible.  River transport is a vital part of the overall transport network for London and the loss of this service is a blow to the residents of Putney who will have to endure the District Line, along with it's overcrowding and unreliability".

October 31, 2011