New Woolwich Ferry: Disastrous introduction and silence from TfL

There was no ribbon cutting when new ferries begun service on the Woolwich Ferry earlier this year. The Mayors – of London, Newham and Greenwich borough – didn’t show to celebrate the occasion and toast the new arrivals.

That’s probably because no proper service has ever actually started. After months of delay missing a January 2019 opening, a tentative “trial” begun – and that’s how its remained.

Courtesy TfL

The last few days have seen numerous ferry failures culminating in no service again today and none all weekend.

Now, just about every new transport mode suffers issues in the early days. Hands are wrung, brows furrowed and things improve in time. But even by the standards of other boats, ferries, trains and aircraft it’s been a torrid time.

When new ferries were ordered only two were procured to replace three previous vessels. One was always spare before. Now there is no slack.

Former ferry

Workers on the ferry have contacted to say issues are numerous – and industrial relations are on the floor with strike action also occurring.

What’s worse is the silence from all concerned. TfL and borough council’s have barely uttered a word on what issues are and what is being done about it.

That leaves a service that no one relies on, and no one appears to have any faith will improve soon.


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John Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

7 thoughts on “New Woolwich Ferry: Disastrous introduction and silence from TfL

  • August 2, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    Also doesn’t help that there are ongoing issues with the foot tunnel lifts making it difficult for pedestrians and cyclists trying to get across.

  • August 2, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    I suspect the councils want to bleed the ferry service out and thus show the “requirement” for the additional tunnel

    • August 6, 2019 at 11:05 am

      which you will have to pay to use.
      what a disgrace, utter incompetance!!!

  • August 6, 2019 at 9:30 am

    As with any public transport service whether it be bus train or boat. There should always be additional buses, trains and in this case ferries available (spare) which can be used to replace a broken down ferry if one is taken out of service.

    I think TFL did not take this in to account when ordering the new ferries hence why we have some of the problems we are experiencing now with the ferry. The ferry often operates with a one ferry service causing long delays in the area.

    In recent consultations people made it clear they wanted to keep the Woolwich Ferry in Woolwich even if the new Silvertown Tunnel goes ahead in the future.

  • August 6, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Just to update, TfL confirmed today on Twitter that the reason for this fiasco is that the on board generators are at fault.

  • August 6, 2019 at 9:09 pm

    Phew, seems I may have got there just in time for the last one. I’d just dropped a friend at City Airport and was returning southwards, and was on the boat when he phoned to say he’d boarded but check in had disallowed a piece of luggage: could I go back to get it? I disembarked and turned round, and was told I could board but it was the last service. I had little idea how prophetic those words would be

  • August 16, 2019 at 10:19 am

    i cant understand why that site hasnt been identified for a bridge. it seems so obvious to me.


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