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MBNA Thames Clippers trials boat commute from Gravesend to London

Commuting to London by train or car can be a stressful experience but one company is aiming to tackle that problem - by laying on a boat from Kent into the capital.

MBNA Thames Clippers is offering commuters the chance to swap wheels for water for a week then tell them whether they would consider making the change permanently.

For four days in September, a 220-capacity vessel will make the journey from Gravesend's Town Pier, off West Street, into central London and back again.

The boat will travel from Gravesend into London for a trial period. Picture courtesy of Gravesham Borough Council

It will reach Canary Wharf in just 48 minutes and Embankment in one hour and 10 minutes.

There is even a coffee bar on-board as well as toilets, daily newspapers and the chance to sit up on deck if the weather is nice.

In exchange for the free trip, the company is asking passengers to fill out a questionnaire about their experiences and the sort of service they would like to see if it were to become permanent.

Sean Collins, chief executive officer at MBNA Thames Clippers, said: “We are committed to growing the river bus network in London and further east throughout the port.

The boat will go up the River Thames into central London. Picture: Gemma Constable

"We want as many commuters as possible to realise the huge benefits in terms of speed, comfort and frequency of travelling by river in London.

"We are optimistic about the volume of customers opting to trial the new service and hope to soon be able to offer Gravesend even greater transport links permanently."

The trial trips will take place from Monday, September 11 to Thursday, September 14 and customers are asked to book a place so the company can ensure there is enough space for everyone.

Commuters are being told to expect disruption. Stock image

During the trial, there will be one sailing from Gravesend in the morning at 7.15am and one in the evening, departing from Embankment at 5.40pm.

Gravesham council's cabinet member for business development, Cllr Samir Jassal, said: “It’s really great that the service is coming down to Gravesend.

"MBNA Thames Clippers will offer many benefits that the train direct into London cannot. The vessel has on-board facilities such as an outdoor seated deck, toilets, a coffee bar and access to daily newspapers.

"There’s a lot happening in the Gravesend part of the River Thames and it’s our ambition that we can do more in the future. If this trial is a success then we’d love to be able to work with MBNA Thames Clippers to offer this service continually.”

Book online on the MBNA Thames Clippers website.

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