Thames river bus services are popular with commuters and visitors to London. Get on board a River Thames bus service for a fast, frequent mode of transport. Most boats have refreshments. You can see London's famous landmarks from the water. Unlike river tours, they generally do not offer a commentary, but you can dowload the visitor app in:flow for free, and transform your smartphone into a useful and interesting audioguide. This service, along with the fast and efficient links to major London locations along the Thames, makes river buses a great choice for commuters and visitors alike.
River buses are great value and serve five different routes with destinations between Putney and Royal Woolwich Arsenal. Work out where to travel with the MBNA Thames Clippers river bus route map.
River Bus Stops
MBNA Thames Clippers operate the river bus routes. Popular stops along the Thames include:
- Millbank Pier for Tate Britain
- London Eye Pier for SEA LIFE London Aquarium, The London Dungeon, and the Coca-Cola London Eye
- Bankside Pier for Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
- London Bridge City Pier for HMS Belfast, Borough Market and The Shard
- Tower Millennium Pier for Tower of London and Tower Bridge
- North Greenwich Pier for The O2 and the Emirates Air Line
- Greenwich Pier for Greenwich
The Woolwich Ferry is a free service between Woolwich and North Woolwich. Visit Tfl's website for more information.
Thames River Bus Tickets and Timetables
You can buy a ticket from a ticket office seller or machine on the pier before boarding the boat. Travelcard holders can get a one third discount on most riverboat routes.
Pay-as-you-go Oyster cards are accepted on MBNA Thames Clippers and give you a discount on most single journeys. You can also pay for your journey with pay-as-you-go Visitor Oyster card credit. Simply tap your card on the yellow disc on the pier before you board and again when you get off.
Contactless payments cannot be made for these journeys yet but there are plans for this in summer 2016. Please note, pay-as-you-go capping does not apply when using Oyster or Visitor Oyster card to pay for river travel.
If you plan to use the river bus service for several journeys, it could be cheaper to buy a one-day River Roamer ticket (hop-on hop-off day ticket).
For more information see the TfL website.
How Much Does the River Bus Cost?
Fares on MBNA Thames Clippers vary according to the river zones you need to travel through and which discounts, if any, apply to you. Prices range from free for children aged five or under, up to £17.35 for an adult paying with cash at the pier for a River Roamer ticket. Read the full list of fares for MBNA Thames Clippers.
All London's piers are wheelchair accessible, except for Cadogan Pier (which has steps to access) and London Bridge City Pier (which has very steep access at low tide). All river buses have step free access, and newer river craft have wheelchair spaces. You should check with individual service operators about the level of accessibility on their boats.
Staff are always on hand to offer help with boarding and disembarking from river craft. However, it is advisable for people with mobility impairments who are travelling as a group to provide advance notice to the operator concerned, to ensure a smooth journey.
For further information, check the Transport for London website.