As TfL has all-but nixed plans for a pedestrian-cyclist bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, enter MBNA Thames Clippers.
The ferry company — well-known for its commuter and tourists services which ply the Thames — has suggested an alternative eco-friendly way of crossing: a futuristic zero emission ferry. (Some of the mock-ups suggest it'd be a cross between a Bond villain's getaway boat, and a people-sized terrarium.)
The plans — drawn up between Thames Clippers and Beckett Rankine Marine Consulting Engineers — proposes three of these state-of-the-art ferries, each with a 150-person capacity. At least 50% of passengers could take bikes on board.
Using the same route between Canary Wharf Pier and the Doubletree Docklands hotel in Rotherhithe that's currently operated by one not-so-eco-friendly Thames Clipper, the new boats would offer up to 2,250 spaces per hour, per direction.
The new vessels and pier moderations, says Thames Clippers, would cost £30m.
TfL's official line on the matter is that a bridge is still its preferred option, but because of spiralling cost projections, that's been 'paused' (or, as some commentators see it, axed).
Actually, it's thought a bridge could cost a whopping £600m, so a £30m ferry crossing must be quite attractive to TfL (especially given their recent hand-burning with pricey bridges). The downside might be the corporate affiliation, and how much Thames Clippers would want to set the agenda for marketing, advertising and the like.
Londonist asked Thames Clippers who would be footing the bill for the proposed ferries and how much trips across the water might cost the public, but we're yet to get a direct answer on this.
By hook or by crook, east London's pedestrians and cyclists desperately need this crossing.