Following our meeting with TfL, HBSOS has conveyed our dismay with the unsatisfactory progress of the ferry in a letter to Charlotte Vere:
Dear Baroness Vere 23rd March 2021
Ferry Replacement Service
A meeting was held with Transport for London (TfL) earlier this week to brief the Steering Group of Hammersmith Bridge SOS (the local residents’ community based group) on progress on the ferry. The briefing was met with considerable dismay and I set out below three main areas which seem wholly unsatisfactory.
1. The timescale posited by TfL was for an operational ferry at the end of the summer or “hopefully well before the end of the year”, with mention of October or November. It beggars belief that government in the UK at various levels is so incompetent that it takes over a year to provide an urgent temporary river crossing in this area. We understood the task force was set up to expedite the delivery of a river crossing by short cutting red tape due to the urgent need of residents. This has manifestly not happened.
2. TfL appear to be planning for 800 passengers at peak time, effectively 400 each way. This is grossly inadequate considering the 2000 children who cross for school each day before you begin to factor in even the people travelling now to work, let alone the numbers when life becomes more normal.
3. The hours of operation planned are 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. with reduced hours at the weekend. This is considerably less than the underground or buses which should be providing the model and do not meet the needs of those working late shift patterns (notably at Charing Cross Hospital) or anyone who wishes to attend functions north of the river. It seems that as the rest of London is being opened up as the pandemic eases, Barnes residents will continue to suffer a curfew.
Given the inadequacy of the proposed service, which is in any event hopelessly delayed, we suggest that you instruct TfL to radically review its thinking. Of course, the better option would be for the Task Force to agree a government funding package so that the Foster/COWIE bridge and Phase 1 frames can be built and the bridge be opened immediately to pedestrians for the next ten months until those items are ready to be craned into place.
Hammersmith Bridge SOS
cc Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport
Sadiq Khan, London Mayor
Heidi Alexander, TfL
Stephen Cowan, LBHF
Gareth Roberts, LBRUT
See / download a pdf of the letter here >>