- Private investment funds new Thames pier opens at Vauxhall to serve commuters on the River Bus Service
- Part of the Mayor of London's vision to make the most of London's waterways
- Working towards a 20 per cent increase in London's pier capacity by the end of 2012, with the potential for 500,000 more people using the Thames by the end of 2012
Multi award winning property developer St George PLC and Mayor of London Boris Johnson officially opened a £1.7 million floating passenger pier and new river transport service at St George Wharf in South West London on Wednesday 14th September, a major new development which supports the Mayor's vision of increasing pier capacity on the Thames by 20 per cent.
Located on the front of St George Wharf, the award winning development, near to Vauxhall, River Bus operator Thames Clippers will provide the pier with a new high speed river service west of Waterloo, opening the West of the River Thames to nearby residents and the wider public for the first time in two decades.
The service 'Tate to Tate & Service West'–will run from 3rd October every 40 minutes seven days a week from St George Wharf and will take commuters and visitors into central London, the City and Canary Wharf.
St George PLC worked in partnership with the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, Lambeth Council, the Port of London Authority and Thames Clippers to help provide this vital piece of new transport infrastructure for Vauxhall, Lambeth and South London. The pier has been designed by Beckett Rankine.
The Mayor is committed to improving river services and believes that, with partnerships such as this, the pier capacity on the Thames could be increased by 20 per cent, opening up the river to half a million more users by the end of 2012. This includes bigger piers in the central section and new piers such as the St George Wharf pier in the outer London sections of the river.
New piers in outer regions of the Thames, especially in growth areas such as Nine Elms, Woolwich Arsenal and Barking Riverside, are key to opening up the river for commuter travel and the Mayor welcomes private investment such as this partnership with St George. The Mayor aims to increase capacity in the central London region of the Thames which runs between Millbank and Tower Bridge, by lengthening existing piers to ease congestion and creating a more frequent and reliable service. An extension to Tower Pier is being delivered by TfL in time for the 2012 Games, which will add an extra 25% capacity to one of London's most popular passenger piers.
2012 is expected to be the busiest year on the river to date, as the river plays a central role as a mode of transport for the Olympic Games and also to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Travelling by river is pleasurable and reliable and the new pier complements work already done by the Mayor's River Concordat group to achieve his vision for addressing the barriers to river travel in London. The River Bus Service now accepts Oyster pay as you go and last year a package of improvements were introduced for the six million passengers who use the river each year, including a tube style map and real–time travel information through a mobile app and online.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "More and more Londoners are experiencing the joy of a daily commute that involves gliding along the river Thames enjoying a fresh perspective of the city's iconic views.
"This latest development, involving vital private investment, is another major step in opening up our great waterway to half a million more passengers a year. There is huge potential to develop piers along the river and increase passenger capacity by 20 per cent by 2012, securing the Thames' reputation as an integral part of London's transport network."
"The Thames has traditionally been one of the most underused highways in the capital and that's something I have been determined to change – we have already made great strides with the Oysterisation of riverboat services, better signage and clearer travel information for passengers."
Mark Griffiths, Managing Director of St George South London, comments: "During the Olympics the opening of the waterway at this important development will make travelling across the capital even easier for residents and visitors."
The new pier extends the river services into West London helping it become a truly integral part of the transport network. Signposting at St George Wharf will help people easily find their way to both the river and to the tube lines for commuting.
Port of London Authority (PLA) chief executive, Richard Everitt, said: "The river is a great way to travel to work and to see the sights of London. This pier will enable many more people in west London to take advantage of that opportunity. We have worked closely with the developer on this project and are very pleased to see it completed. We look forward to working on more piers to expand river services further west."
Sean Collins, Managing Director of Thames Clippers, said: "For centuries the River Thames was the key transport method for the capital and I very much feel that river travel is just as important today. Thames Clippers offers commuters an efficient and comfortable means to travel between London's key business districts and I am very pleased that we are now able open up the opportunity of river travel to passengers in and around Vauxhall from St George Wharf pier."
St George Wharf, London's premier riverside destination, has a variety of shops, bars and restaurants and is perfectly located for easy access to the best of London culture and entertainment in the nearby West End. With the new pier, St George Wharf will benefit from another transport link adding to the nearby underground stations and close proximity to international airports.
The pier is one of many investments that St George PLC has made to the River Thames in recent years. In continuing tough economic times, this investment demonstrates commitment to helping improve London's transport infrastructure.