London’s river bus operator, Thames Clippers, is celebrating carrying its 40 millionth passenger ahead of its twentieth birthday next year.

With turnover of £24 million and a staff of nearly 400, the river bus operator’s 17 fast ferries will be joined by the eighteenth and largest catamaran in the fleet at the beginning of 2019 – a £3.8 million investment in London’s transport infrastructure.

It is a far cry from the river busses humble beginnings in 1999, where one vessel carried just 80 passengers on the first day of operation between Greenland Pier, Surrey Quays Pier and Savoy Pier.

Thames Clippers increased its capacity by 10 per cent last year with the introduction of two new high-speed catamarans – Mercury Clipper and Jupiter Clipper – and is on course to carry 4.2 million commuters and tourists in 2018 alone. The new 222 capacity boat will be the largest in the fleet and will enable the river bus service to carry up to a further 300,000 passengers a year, further increasing capacity by eight per cent.

With more and more Londoners choosing to travel by river for work and leisure, Thames Clippers has invested in new piers to improve the passenger experience and to widen access to the river routes, including a replacement pier at Westminster in 2016 and an all-new pier at Battersea Power Station in 2017 (with 15 minute journey times to Central London). Future developments include a new pier at Trinity Buoy Wharf to service the rapidly expanding residential developments between Canning Town and the Thames due in the coming months, and a new pier at Royal Wharf due in 2019.

Sean Collins, CEO and co-founder of Thames Clippers, said,

“What an incredible ride this has been; it is amazing to think that the small operation we started 19 years ago would grow so quickly into a multi-million pound company, employing hundreds of Londoners and becoming an established and integral part of London’s transport mix.

 “It’s a matter of great pride that we have served our 40 millionth passenger this last month and that we are on course to carry more than 4 million passengers this year alone. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff, many of whom have helped grow the company from a single boat service on a single route to where it is today.

“I passionately believe that the River Thames is chronically underused by London and that our great capital could and should be making much more of our oldest cross-London transport route. As traffic and congestion on the roads continues to pose threats to the capitals economic competitiveness and wellbeing, it makes sense to move more passenger traffic on to the water.”

The business now operates four major commuter services and two associated tourist routes, and is recognised as one of the quickest and easiest routes in and out of London’s business districts in the West End, City and Canary Wharf. Thames Clippers six river bus routes call at 22 piers across London, connecting Putney in the west with Woolwich in the east, with integrated Oyster payments allowing for easy Pay As You Go travel.

Additionally, Thames Clippers further boosted its role on the river earlier this year when the business won the five-year contract to manage the Central London Cruise Moorings, alongside the Port of Tilbury. The deal sees the joint venture taking over responsibility for the smooth day-to-day operations of three moorings – Greenwich Ship Tier, Tower Bridge Upper and George’s Stair Tier – on behalf of the Port of London.  The contact includes transporting cruise passengers from their ships to the heart of London.

Thames Clippers is London’s fastest and most frequent River Bus service. Passengers can travel directly to key central London piers such as Westminster, London Eye (Waterloo), Blackfriars, Embankment, Canary Wharf, Battersea Power Station and London Bridge City.

Weekly, monthly and annual season ticket options are available, with prices starting from £25.95 for a one week East or West Only pass. Commuting with Thames Clippers can work out as little as £2 per journey with the annual option. For further details visit our Season Tickets page or download the Thames Clippers app