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TfL paid out £80k HOLDING COSTS every 4 weeks for UNUSED Uber Boat by Thames Clippers service

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Image credit : Uber/Pixabay remixed

In February 2021, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, won a bid to provide the temporary ferry service at Hammersmith Bridge while repairs were being made.

The service was supposed to start in the spring but this was pushed back to August due to additional time being needed. The bridge was then reopened in July to pedestrians and cyclists, meaning the boat service wasn’t really required anymore.

Details of the public money spent on the unused service since then emerged following a question by Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Caroline asked Mayor Khan: “Since the decision to allow pedestrians and cyclists to start using Hammersmith Bridge again, what has been the monthly cost of the agreed contract for an Uber boat ferry service not operating? Please provide a breakdown of all the main costs.”

In his reply the Mayor said: “The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham reopened Hammersmith bridge to pedestrians and cyclists in July 2021.

“During the intervening period Transport for London (TfL) sought to minimise costs associated with the temporary ferry. However, the Taskforce led by the Department of Transport (DfT) requested that options be developed for how the service could be operated on a standby basis should it be required during the repair works on the bridge, so a small core team has had to be retained for this purpose.

“TfL has also had to pay the holding costs associated with the infrastructure for the ferry service. Together these costs amount to £80k for every four weeks since August 2021

“These payments have been met with funding provided by the DfT as part of the Government’s financial settlements in October 2020 and June 2021, which were ring-fenced for this purpose.

“On 25 November 2021, the Taskforce confirmed that a ferry would not be required during the planned bridge works. TfL notified Uber Boats by Thames Clippers of the decision on the same day and the contract termination details are currently being finalised.“

Mayor Khan confirmed that these costs were paid for with the funding supplied to Transport for London by the Department for Transport.


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