Richmond to fund a quarter of the ferry infrastructure

From the Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Richmond Council has agreed to fund a quarter of the ferry infrastructure to provide an alternative route across the River Thames while Hammersmith Bridge is closed, but questions remain over how it will work.

At last week's Transport and Air Quality Committee, the council agreed to contribute up to £375,000, to ensure the ferry service can be delivered as quickly as possible and to mitigate the impacts of the ongoing bridge closure on Richmond residents.

However, officers cautioned against “overselling” the ferry as the solution, warning that it will not be a 24/7 service due to tidal issues, and there may even be a fee to cross the river.

Read the full article

It looks as if the powers that be are already managing expectations over the proposed ferry service. As well as the possibility - or, let's face it, probability - that it won't be able to operate at low tide, there are also questions about:

  • whether or not a fare will be charged
  • whether bicycles can be carried
  • where the ferry will actually land.

So, although in many people's minds a ferry is a quick and easy solution, it turns out that all of the potential problems that I outlined on 2nd October are still problems. I don't want to say "I told you so", but it really is difficult to run a 24 hour ferry service in a fast-flowing, shallow river with a large tidal range and poorly defined landing places.

I honestly hope that LBRuT don't spend too much money on what I fear will ultimately be an unsatisfactory solution. Our best hope it that the first stage of stabilising the bridge will make it suitable for pedestrians and people on bicycles to cross.

If that doesn't work, then I think a temporary walking and cycling bridge is the next best solution. Who knows, it might even become permanent.

Posted on 9th November 2020

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