Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Thames River Routes: exploring the scheduled river services

After last year's project to travel on all the Ferries of London it was obvious to try to go on all the routes up and down the river.

But which boats to include? I found a long list of different types of Thames boat trips on the Transport for London (TfL) web site - far to many to consider.

It needed something to focus on, so I used this map of timetabled routes up and down the river:

This was a perilous decision.... it included routes no Londoner could dare admit to travelling on, namely the (whisper it) tourist cruises.

But in the name of honest reporting and a weird psychological need to complete obscure challenges I set off.

Starting with the Thames Clipper (as in the photo at top) services which have the following river bus (RB) routes:
  • RB1: between central London and eastern piers such as North Greenwich and Woolwich / Royal Arsenal
  • RB2: covers the central zone from Battersea Power Station and London Bridge City
  • RB3: there is no RB3 (it used to connect from London Bridge pier and Canary Wharf  according to this old map)
  • RB4: this is the Doubletree Docklands Ferry, which I did last year as part of the Ferries of London (so didn't feel a need to do again). Updated: but did anyhow!
  • RB5: between North Greenwich and Woolwich / Royal Arsenal
  • RB6: my favourite, taking me home to Putney from central London (or to meetings in town)

The timetable is a bit confusing but over the last few weeks have ridden on each route and stopped at every pier on their schedules. The route map also includes another ferry have already been on, namely:

There are also additional routes upstream from other companies, such as:

Finally there were the central tourist routes, in particular:

The Thames Clipper route pricing is based upon zones as in the pic at the below with {West, Central, East} zones and prices per number of zones. For some reason {Central + West} is more expensive than {Central + East} - no idea why.

The best way to pay is by tapping in and out with your contact-less credit card otherwise use an Oyster. Buying a physical ticket at the machines is more expensive so don't do that.

And so: the river buses !


my2fish said...

That is cool that there are so many river transport options. Detroit might have 1 or 2 tourist type boat rides but no transit that I’m aware of. Not even a ferry over to Windsor, Ontario, which would be a nice alternative to the bridge or tunnel (both by car).

JP said...

The Thames is still under used to a degree - eg the RB6 route doesn’t run during the day or weekends. There’s also been talk of river taxi service as per one they are trialling in Paris. More options would be good as it’s my favourite way to get around London