The Woolwich Ferry will run a one-boat service for the rest of the year as Transport for London makes preparations to run the service itself, taking over from the contractor Briggs Marine.
While the coronavirus pandemic has seen the ferry run with just one boat for much of the year, the restricted service – with a crossing every 20-25 minutes – is so technical adjustments can be made to improve the service, which has been blighted by problems with the vessels’ mooring equipment.
In addition to its usual closure on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, the service will be closed altogether between 2-8 January, and will not resume a full two-boat service until later in the month.
Two new vessels came into service last year, replacing the three ferries that had plied the route between Woolwich and North Woolwich for 55 years. But there were problems with generators that powered the boats, and with the magnetic docking system by the Dutch manufacturer Mampaey; while industrial action against Briggs also took the service out of action.
TfL had spent £20m on the new ferries, and London mayor Sadiq Khan admitted a year ago that he had “dropped the ball” on the issue. The transfer from Briggs Marine is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.
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