Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe ferry starting next year

Transport for London have revealed details about a planned new ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf after they scrapped plans for a bridge.

Ironically the image on the press release shows a misty day. Will a ferry even run in such conditions? Not a problem that would have afflicted bridge users.

TfL’s press release of course sounds wonderful but doesn’t answer some other key questions. Will it be free to all like a bridge would have been?

Plans for new builds on current Surrey Quays shopping centre in Rotherhithe

Will it run 24/7? A bridge would have permitted that level of access across the Thames. It’d a bit embarrassing if a major world city has a ferry service between major centres of employment, leisure and housing that shuts up shop early.

TfL claim it will provide a ‘turn up and go’  service but exactly just what is that; every five minutes? Fifteen? Waiting 15 minutes is not a bit of a downgrade from a quick cycle or walk over a bridge.

Woolwich ferry roundabout traffic

And crucially what lessons have been learned from the disastrous Woolwich ferry experience? This is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge and not for cars, but will it include problematic docking equipment? How much resilience will there there be, given only two new Woolwich ferries replaced the three previously used? Will it be liable to stopping during high tides as Woolwich frequently is, and something that may become ever more common?


Aside from the Rotherhithe ferry, why are there no plans for a free North Greenwich to Isle of Dogs ferry? There’s paid services from Thames Clippers of course, but with 20,000 homes planned on Greenwich Peninsula and over 8,000 in Charlton, where’s the plan to cross the Thames aside from the Jubilee Line?

Some of the 8,000+ new homes coming to Charlton

If Greenwich has to see increased congestion and pollution from Silvertown Tunnel, aren’t local residents worth more than being forced onto packed Jubilee Line trains and paying for the privilege?

Morden Wharf plans on Greenwich Peninsula – outside of 17.5k Knight Dragon scheme

Arguing new bus routes (again at cost rather than free) are some kind of substitute doesn’t really tally given forecasts for increased congestion across Greenwich after a tunnel completes – according to TfL themselves – which somewhat negates more routes through a tunnel. Journeys will be slowed as soon as they reach the borough heading south.

Red dots = worse congestion after Silvertown according to TfL. Many in Greenwich

It looks as though Greenwich gets a new road tunnel, more congestion but no free crossings as seen across west London and now Rotherhithe.

Current levels of traffic versus post Silvertown levels according to TfL

More details of the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge will be revealed this summer.



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J 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.

    2 thoughts on “Canary Wharf to Rotherhithe ferry starting next year

    • I do like the idea of a ferry service between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf now that they have decided not to go ahead with the wlaking/cycling bridge over the Thames at Rotherhithe.

      I feel this ferry would be very popular so agree that we need more information on operating hours of the ferry service and wether it will be free or would passengers have to pay a fare. If a fare is to be payable being a TFL service could oyster cards be used on the service?

      I also think they will need to be some improvemebts to local bus services to serve the Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf Ferry Terminals to make for better and quicker connections if the ferry service is to be a turn up and go service, .

    • Pingback: Silvertown Tunnel contract rises by £200 million to £1.2 billion | Murky Depths

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