Thames Clippers

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Thames Clippers
London River Services
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Logo.jpg
Thames Clippers logo
LocaleLondon, England
WaterwayRiver Thames
Transit typeRiver bus and tourist/leisure services
OwnerAnschutz Entertainment Group
Began operation24 May 1999; 21 years ago (1999-05-24)
No. of lines5
No. of vessels19
No. of terminals23

Thames Clippers (currently branded as Uber boat by Thames Clippers) is a River Bus service on the River Thames in London.

The company operates both commuter services between eastern and Central London and tourist services under licence from London River Services. At present they transport around 10,000 passengers daily on average.


Sean Collins co-founded Thames Clippers in 1999 with partner Alan Woods as Collins River Enterprises. During his career Sean recognised the opportunity to build a consistent high-speed commuter and passenger river service. Thames Clippers was then taken over in September 2006 by the American Anschutz Entertainment Group,[1] who promised substantial investment into the company to upgrade the services and to provide a more frequent "hop-on-hop-off" between Central London and The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome), also owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. In 2007 the company purchased six new catamarans to be used on the commuter service in order to carry a large number of passengers in a comfortable environment. In 2015 and 2017, a total of four new 'Hunt Class' catamarans were purchased for use primarily on the RB6 Service.[2]

In July 2020, the company announced a partnership with U.S.-based ride-sharing service Uber, which acquired naming rights to the ferry and rebranding the service as Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.[3][4][5][6]


Thames Clippers operate under licence from Transport for London. The river boat service is now better integrated into the tube and bus ticketing network. From November 2009, Thames Clippers services started to accept Oyster pay as you go on all of its services, which also provides a discount on single and return fares. Contactless payment is also accepted.[7]

A River Roamer ticket, valid for one day, is available from Thames Clippers which allows the holder to hop on and hop off along the banks of the Thames between Putney Pier and Woolwich Arsenal Pier (including the Canary Wharf - Rotherhithe Ferry). The cost is £19.90 for an adult and £39.80 for a family. An adult single trip fare changes depending on zones. They range from £4.90 to £13.00 (or £4.50 to £12.00 if payment is made online, in app or with an oyster or contactless card).[8] There is a one third discount for holders of valid travelcards (excluding Family River Roamer tickets and fares for The O2 Express).

Special river service season tickets, valid for either 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year, are also available. Discounts for travelcard holders are also available on season tickets. Carnet tickets are also available via the Thames Clippers tickets app.

Park and Glide tickets are also available which grant access to the car park at The O2, and the River Bus.

Commuter services[edit]

Main commuter service (RB1)[edit]

This runs between Westminster Millennium Pier (on the north side of the river by Westminster Underground station) and the Woolwich Arsenal Pier (on the south side of the river in Woolwich). The service runs every 20 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes in the very early morning and evenings.

Hurricane Clipper approaching Greenland Pier with Canary Wharf in the background
Sun Clipper heading upstream just east of Tower Bridge
Hurricane Clipper

Stops include from west to east:

Canary Wharf/Rotherhithe ferry (RB4)[edit]

Thames Clippers operates the direct cross river Canary Wharf - Rotherhithe Ferry, between Canary Wharf Pier and the Nelson Dock Pier at the Hilton Hotel in Rotherhithe. The service uses smaller boats than the commuter service but runs at a higher frequency of every 20 minutes and every 10 minutes during peak times. The ferry can be used by guests of the hotel free of charge as well as by passengers not staying at the hotel at a cost.[9]

North Greenwich to Woolwich (RB5)[edit]

Operates Every 30 minutes on weekends. Service RB1 serves Woolwich Arsenal Mondays to Fridays (Mornings and Evenings only)

Putney to Blackfriars (and Canary Wharf) (RB6)[edit]

This runs peak times Monday to Friday only. Stops are:

Trial service to Gravesend[edit]

In September 2017, Thames Clippers ran a trial commuter service between Gravesend and Central London.[10]

Visitor/tourist services[edit]

Tate to Tate and Service West (RB2)[edit]

The Tate to Tate and Service West operates between Battersea Pier and London Bridge Pier, serving visitors travelling between the Tate Modern museum on the South Bank and the older Tate Britain in Millbank across the river.

The O2 Express (RB1X)[edit]

The O2 Express is an express service calling at London Eye, Westminster Pier, Embankment Pier, London Bridge City Pier, Tower Pier, Greenwich Pier and North Greenwich Pier for The O2. The service also provides private charters.


Thames Clippers operates 16 high-speed catamarans with a maximum speed of 28 knots (32 mph) , plus a more conventional catamaran for the Hilton ferry.[11][12][13]

Name Length Passengers Type Builder Built Acquired Image
Venus Clipper 38m 222 Hunt Class Mark 3 Wight Shipyard 2018 2019
Jupiter Clipper 35m 172 Hunt Class Mark 2 Wight Shipyard 2017 2017 Jupiter Clipper.jpg
Mercury Clipper 35m 172 Hunt Class Mark 2 Wight Shipyard 2017 2017 Mercury Clipper.jpg
Galaxy Clipper 35m 150 Hunt Class Incat 2015 2015 Galaxy Clipper - MBNA Thames Clippers cropped.jpg
Neptune Clipper 35m 150 Hunt Class Incat 2015 2015 Neptune Clipper.jpg
Aurora Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2B BSC Marine 2008 2008 Ferries on the River Thames, London - - 1773487 cropped.jpg
Meteor Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2B BSC Marine 2008 2008 London MMB 12 River Thames cropped.jpg
Cyclone Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2B BSC Marine 2007 2007 Thames Clipper 1 cropped.jpg
Monsoon Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2B BSC Marine 2007 2007 St Katharine pier 3 cropped.jpg
Tornado Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2B BSC Marine 2007 2007 Tornado Clipper.jpg
Typhoon Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2B BSC Marine 2007 2007 Typhoon Clipper 2018-08-19 15.27.17.jpg
Hurricane Clipper 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mark 2 NQEA 2001 2001 Hurricane Clipper 2018-08-19 15.18.49.jpg
Moon Clipper 32m 138 River Runner 150 Mark 3 NQEA 2001 2005 Moon Clipper on the Thames - DSC05392 cropped.jpg
Sun Clipper 32m 138 River Runner 150 Mark 3 NQEA 2001 2005 Thames Clipper 9 9 07 cropped.jpg
Sky Clipper 25m 62 Hydrocat FBM 1992 1999
Star Clipper 25m 62 Hydrocat FBM 1992 1999 London MMB »121 Thames Barrier cropped.jpg
Storm Clipper 25m 62 Hydrocat FBM 1992 1999
Twin Star 19m 125 Former Ford Dagenham ferry ? 1976 2004 Hilton Docklands Nelson Pier cropped.jpg


In February 2004, a woman was killed after she was hit, while waiting for a boat, by a mooring bollard which had come loose from the Star Clipper at St. Katherine's Pier.[14]

On 4 October 2011 at 7 pm, the Moon Clipper hit the Tower Millennium Pier when it was carrying about 50 people. 4 people were injured.[15]

On 5 December 2016 the Typhoon Clipper collided with the workboat Alison, resulting in the sinking of the workboat. The two crew members on the workboat were taken to hospital.[16]

The future[edit]

A Policy Exchange report advocates significant expansion in river services on the Thames. The aim of the report is to lead to a "river tube line" being created which would lead to easing of current congestion on London's transport systems, and better quality of travel, at a significantly cheaper price than other options. Opponents note that the river capacity, especially at low tide could mean a reduction of tourist boats (especially at peak commuter times), and turn the Thames into an urban highway which would be detrimental to London. To be feasible, the report calls for better management of river traffic, improved interchange with other public transport modes and expansion of key piers.[17]

The Mayor of London is responsible for the River Concordat group [1] group, which is made-up of over forty different organisations including Thames Clippers. The publication, By the River [2], sets out the strategic vision for improving river transport on the Thames.

They plan to expand further East down the river start with a calling at a Pier in Silvertown in October 2019 and plans in the future to go to Thamesmead and Barking.[18]

In 2017, Thames Clippers and London Resort stuck a deal to provide Clipper Services between Central London & The proposed Theme Park Resort located on The Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent.[19] The Thames Clipper Services are also planned to operate between the resort and a Park & Ride Car Park located on the north of The River Thames in Tilbury Docks. These services are scheduled to start operation when the Resort opens in 2024.[20]


Thames Clipper Boat on the River Thames in new black and white branding
Cyclone Clipper in new Uber Branding

The first company to enter a partnership with Thames Clippers was NatWest in 2008. The boats were reliveried in black sponsorship stickers displaying the NatWest and Thames Clippers Logo. KPMG won a three year sponsorship deal in 2011 and sponsored the clippers during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.[21] In August 2014, MBNA the bank holding company signed a three year sponsorship deal with Thames Clippers, and introduced a better ticketing system.[22] In June 2020, American company Uber entered a new partnership with Thames Clippers whereby they won naming rights to the service. As of 2020, the service has been rebranded as "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers".[23]


  1. ^ Christopher Hope (21 September 2006). "Dome chief joins Thames taxi race". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
  2. ^ Capital Clippers Ships Monthly March 2016 pages 42-45
  3. ^ Keane, Jonathan. "Uber Is Setting Sail On The Thames With Its Latest Transport Gambit". Forbes. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Uber to launch London commuter boat service with Thames Clippers". Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  5. ^ Lekach, Sasha. "Uber Boat takes over London commuter ferry for water rides". Mashable. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers". 8 July 2020. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Thames Clippers. "Thames Clippers fares". Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  9. ^ "Directions to DoubleTree Hotel London Docklands - Hotel and Area Map".
  10. ^ Kent Online,
  11. ^ Clippers, Thames. "Our Fleet - Thames Clippers".
  12. ^ "Our Fleet" (PDF).
  13. ^ "Meet Our Fleet" (PDF). Thames Clippers. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Woman 'killed by mooring bollard'". BBC News. 18 February 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Thames riverboat crashes into Tower Millennium Pier". BBC News. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  16. ^ "Collision between a passenger vessel and a workboat - News stories - GOV.UK". Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Policy Exchange - Shaping the Policy Agenda" (PDF).
  18. ^ "How MBNA Thames Clippers wants to roll out river ferry services across east London". 29 October 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Deal struck to provide MBNA Thames Clippers service to £3.2bn London Resort in Swanscombe". Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  20. ^ "London Resort Company Holdings Team up with MBNA Thames Clippers". Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  21. ^ Editor, L. L. B. (23 September 2011). "KPMG sponsors new fleet of Thames Clippers". London Business News | Retrieved 15 August 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  22. ^ Bold, Ben (21 August 2014). "Credit card firm MBNA signs three-year Thames Clippers deal". Campaign.
  23. ^ Rob (8 July 2020). "London commuter boats to be renamed Uber Boat under a new sponsorship deal!". Head for Points. Retrieved 15 August 2020.

External links[edit]