Freight less fraught for Thames’ ‘forgotten highway’

Allowing commuter services and Oyster Pre-Pay on the Thames may be an attractive and interesting idea to promote the use of river transport but the rethink should not stop there, according to Labour’s London Assembly environment spokesman.

Following the launch of the new express commuter Thames Clipper rush hour service between London Bridge and Canary Wharf earlier this month, Murad Qureshi, who is due to take over as Chair of the Assembly’s Environment Committee next month, said:

‘I think it’s right to say the Thames could play more of a part in the capital’s transport network, and the new Thames Clipper express route is an interesting development. But given the tidal nature of the river, it’s less reliable for journey times so commuter transport might not be the right way to go. However, I’ll wait and see how many people are tempted away from the Jubilee Line, which is likely to remain a quicker and more reliable journey’.

Murad added: ‘Historically, the Thames has been more suitable for the transport of freight, and I think this is an area where we aren’t necessarily using the river to its best advantage – if more freight were carried by river, it could reduce the number of HGVs in London. I hope that the Olympic planners will think of the waterways when looking at the logistics of the Games.

‘The Thames could be a great way of showcasing London while transporting spectators between the Olympic sites at Stratford, Greenwich and the 02 arena’, he concluded.