Mayor welcomes improvements to key piers in time for the 2012 Games
Two key strategic piers on the Thames have been improved to accommodate more passengers and provide better facilities in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
In line with the Mayor's goal to boost passenger numbers and improve services on the Thames, London River Services has now installed improvements at Tower Pier and Greenwich Pier.
A 30-metre extension of Tower Pier has increased capacity by 25 per cent on one of London's busiest piers.
Passengers using the pier will find it better lit, thanks to a new low energy lighting system which operates solely from energy generated by solar panels on the pier roof.
Passengers using Greenwich Pier are also benefiting from a brand new UK built roofing system and a new lighting system that improves the ambience of the passenger areas.
London River Services has completed the works well ahead of the London 2012 Games to ensure a relaxing and scenic route for passengers between central London and events being held in River Zone venues in Greenwich.
Passenger numbers on the river have increased by one million over the past four years but the Mayor is committed to improving river services further.
Work is under way to increase pier capacity on the Thames by 20 per cent and potentially open up the river to half a million more users by the end of 2012.
The improvements to Tower and Greenwich piers are only a part of that work.
A new St George Wharf Pier was opened by the Mayor last September, which was completely funded by a developer and supported by Transport for London (TfL).
Opening the pier has allowed the extension of the River Bus network further west to Vauxhall.
Funding has also been secured to deliver a new ticket office for Embankment Pier, which will be installed in April.
The new office will free up capacity on the pier and significantly improve the pier entrance.
Work is taking place to reconfigure the passenger waiting and queuing systems in order to improve boarding/alighting systems and reduce vessel dwell time at the pier.
The EDF Energy London Eye is also improving its facilities at London Eye Millennium Pier to provide increased capacity in time for the London 2012 Games.
Planning permission has been granted for new piers at Plantation Wharf and at Enderby Wharf. Plus a planning application has been submitted to remove the existing Savoy pier and replace it with a brand new one.
The Deputy Mayor for Transport Isabel Dedring said: 'London is gearing up for a summer like no other and transport improvements such as these are a key part of our planning for a successful Games.
'Travelling to sporting venues by river will be one of the most enjoyable ways to experience our great city. But crucially, better piers also make it easier for Londoners before and after the sporting summer which is a core goal for the Mayor.'
With real time boat information at many piers, new Tube-style river maps, improved signage to piers and services and Oyster pay-as-you-go acceptance on Thames Clipper services, it has never been easier to set sail and see London from a new perspective.
River Bus services operate every 20-30 minutes throughout the day, giving easy access to a number of locations from Embankment in the west to Woolwich Arsenal in the east.
A number of River Tours services also operate from piers including Greenwich Pier, Tower Pier and London Eye Pier offering a more leisurely river sightseeing experience.
Separate works are being undertaken by private developers in the Greenwich promenade area. These works are part of a wider redevelopment of the area that will provide improved access, improved ticket office facilities for river services and two new restaurants. These infrastructure enhancements build on improvements that TfL has made to river service information that make it easier for Londoners and visitors to make the most of the River Thames.
Notes to editors:
- More information about London's river services is available at tfl.gov.uk/rivers
- Around £6.5bn has been invested in upgrading and extending transport links and this will enable spectators to get to and from the Games each day and ensure we will keep London moving. This is already providing an early legacy of better transport options, particularly for people living in east London, which will continue long after the London 2012 Games
- TfL and ODA have invested £1.5million on improvements to Tower pier ahead of the Games
- The Mayor has asked TfL to produce a strategic plan for passenger services on the River Thames, which will be published before the end of the year