General questions on the river crossing service
Why can’t I just cycle through the tunnel?
Walking and cycling will not be permitted in the Silvertown Tunnel for safety reasons. We closely considered whether cyclists could be accommodated within the new tunnels as part of our work to develop the scheme prior to securing permission to build the tunnel in 2018.
Our analysis showed there are significant challenges to designing something within the tunnel which is both safe and attractive for cyclists. This would come at significant cost and would be unlikely to generate significant demand to justify that cost given the location and the long, confined space through which cyclists would have to travel.
Why have you not shown your plans for the Lower Lea crossing?
Alongside this new crossing service we are also developing proposals at the Lower Lea Crossing that connects Canary Wharf to Silvertown to make improvements to the walking and cycling environment. The improved facility will form an important part of the local cycle network. These plans are still under development and will be presented to the public and stakeholders for consultation later this year.
Will pedestrians and people without cycles be permitted to use the service?
This will depend on what the final mode of transport for the service is.
If we introduce a dedicated shuttle bus for cyclists, then pedestrians and people without bikes will not be permitted to use this service. However, from tunnel opening there will be three bus routes providing services across the river; routes X239 and 129 through the Silvertown Tunnel and route 108 through the Blackwall Tunnel. Pedestrians can use these routes to complete their journey. Alternatively, they could use the IFS cable car or Jubilee line to make their journey across the river between North Greenwich and Canning Town.
Why can’t I put my bike on one of the proposed new buses that will travel through the Silvertown and Blackwall Tunnels?
Non-folded bikes are not permitted on any of our buses across London. We have not considered this as an option for the cross-river facility as the impact to bus users will be too great in terms of their journey times whilst cyclists load and unload bicycles and also the space that would be required.
Typically, you can take folded cycles anywhere, at any time on all our transport services. However, on buses the driver can decide not to let you travel with your folded cycle if it is too busy.
Why can’t cyclists use the Greenwich Foot Tunnel?
Cyclists are able to use the Greenwich foot tunnel, however, they must dismount from their bike and walk it through the tunnel rather than riding as this would bring them into conflict with pedestrians who are also using the tunnel, causing potential collision risks and therefore injury.
The Greenwich foot tunnel is jointly governed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and London Borough of Tower Hamlets using by-laws which prohibit cycling through the tunnel. Both boroughs would need to agree to amend the by-laws for cycling to become permitted.
I have a disability and use a specialised cycle (such as a handcycle, tricycle, recumbent tricycle etc). Will I be able to use the river crossing facility to make my journey?
One of the key purposes of this consultation is to help us understand the needs of different cyclists and use this information to inform the next stages of work.
The IFS Cloud Cable Car has step-free access and is accessible to most wheelchairs including motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The maximum weight is 300kg and the maximum size is 70cm by 130cm.
Regarding the bus shuttle option, consultation feedback will be vital to ensuring we opt for a vehicle that is accessible, inclusive and comfortable for all users.
As part of the consultation survey, we are asking people to tell us what type of bicycle they use, how important different accessibility aspects are to their journey and how this provision will look. We would also welcome any comments, concerns or suggestions about accessibility or other impacts in the open text question.
We have an Equality Impact Assessment available on the consultation page which explains the impacts on different protected characteristics, including disabled people, in more detail.
I use a cargo bike. Will I be able to use the river crossing facility to make my journey?
Currently, cargo bikes are not able to travel on the IFS Cable Car service due to space constraints.
Regarding the potential bus shuttle service, right now we cannot confirm the specifications for the vehicle we would use for this shuttle, but consultation feedback will be vital to ensuring we opt for a vehicle that is accessible and inclusive.
As part of the consultation survey, we are asking people to tell us what types of bicycle they use and how important different accessibility aspects are to their journey and how this provision will look. We would also welcome any comments, concerns or suggestions about accessibility or other impacts in the open text question.
Will this cross-river cycling service be ready on time for the Tunnel opening in 2025?
Yes. The new cross-river cycling provision is a key component of the Silvertown Tunnel scheme.
Questions about the bus shuttle service
Where would the pick up and drop off points be for the bus shuttle service?
You can view a map of the proposed areas for drop off and pick up points for the bus shuttle here and we welcome alternative suggestions and feedback to help further develop these options.
How many people will be able to use the bus shuttle service at one time?
We have not confirmed the specifications for the vehicles yet, so we are unable to confirm how many cyclists would be able to use the service at any one time.
Feedback to this consultation will help us understand demand for the crossing at specific times and help us to opt for the most appropriate vehicle.
What if there are too many cyclists to accommodate on one bus shuttle at any point?
This consultation aims to understand what demand for the service will look like at different times of the day to help us plan effectively. If feedback demonstrates that there will be greater demand at certain morning and afternoon peaks, we would look to ensure adequate service was provided at those times to accommodate people needing to use the service.
What will the frequency of the bus shuttle be?
Our indicative operating plan for this service suggests a starting frequency of six bus shuttles per hour. We will use feedback from this consultation to understand potential demand and whether we would increase frequencies, particularly at different times of the day to accommodate this demand.
Alternatively, we could offer an on-demand service, whereby cyclists call for a service on arrival at a stop. This would again depend on demand levels for the crossing and the feedback received during this consultation.
Once the bus shuttle is operational, we will review levels of demand and will be able to respond appropriately; one of the benefits of this kind of service is our ability to be scale up in response to demand and be flexible in response to customer needs.
Will I have to pay to use the service?
It is important to us that this service offers good value for money for both the users and to TfL. The bus shuttle service could be free to users but this would require ongoing public subsidy which may result in a lower-quality service in response to financial constraints. Alternatively, a fare could be charged to recoup some of the operating costs. This could then be invested into improving the service for example providing more frequent services, better vehicles and facilities at the stops, or longer operating hours. No decisions have been taken on whether there will be a charge for this service or whether it will be free; we would like to know if a charge will impact your decision to use the service.
Questions about the IFS Cable Car service
How does the cable car service fit in with these proposals?
We intend for the cable car service to be complementary to other provision, such as a shuttle bus service and it will remain an option for cyclists wishing to cross the river during its hours of operation.
Will the free early morning travel for cyclists continue or change?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was decided to provide free travel for cyclists between 07:00 and 09:30 on the cable car to help free up space on other transport modes and encourage people to cycle to work.
The cable car operations are kept under review and in line with demand, discussions are currently underway about the future operation of the cable car, which is used much more widely by tourists and leisure travellers than commuters. The cable car is unable to operate in some circumstances, such as poor weather, which is known to make it a less attractive option for commuter use. No final decisions have been made about future operations and the morning peak travel for cyclists currently remains in place, but this is under review.
The cable car will remain in place as an option for cyclists during its hours of operation.
Questions about the Ferry service
Why are you not considering taking this option further at the moment?
The initial capital investment required by TfL - in piers and boats - to operate a ferry service is not currently affordable and therefore overall this option does not represent good value for money. However, private sector partners could potentially provide the investment for the necessary infrastructure to make a ferry service viable in the future. Should this opportunity come forward we will keep this option under review. Feedback from this consultation on people’s potential willingness to use a ferry service if one became available in future will be very important when considering how we might further develop this option.
Questions on the consultation survey
Why are you asking questions about the operational elements of the scheme?
It is important that we understand how to create the most accessible, inclusive and viable cross-river cycling provision for users. Consultation feedback will be vital in shaping how the initial river crossing facility operates and will help us ensure it works for cyclists and their needs.
Why are you asking me questions about my future journeys?
It is important that we understand how cyclists would want to use the cross-river provision and what “demand” might look like for the service at different times and days of the week.
Demand refers to how many people are using or want to use a service at any one point in time. We look at our transport services at different times of the day and how many people are using that service at that time to understand what the demand is. Understanding this helps us to plan our transport network efficiently and make sure we have a reliable and accurate level of service available at different times of the day.
We are asking questions about your potential travel habits so that we can get a good understanding of what the demand might be for the future cross-river service. The consultation feedback will help us to understand when the service might be busiest and will help us to plan effectively around that.
We have also asked a question about what sorts of journeys you might make in the future when using the river-crossing service, such as whether you would be travelling for work, to the shops or for leisure. It is important to us that the proposed service helps to encourage more active travel and modal shift to cycling instead of reliance on private vehicles, as well as providing more connectivity and opening up new journey opportunities. This is a key objective for us and we want to use the consultation to understand whether this might be achieved.
General questions on Silvertown Tunnel
What is the Silvertown Tunnel?
The Silvertown Tunnel is a 1.4km twin-bore road tunnel under the Thames in East London, connecting North Greenwich with Silvertown and the Royal Docks. A modern tunnel combined with a user charge and improved cross-river public transport will improve the reliability and resilience of the wider road network.
Work is currently progressing on the tunnel, and it is expected to open in 2025.
What is a DCO?
DCO stands for Development Consents Order. In 2018, the Secretary of State gave permission for the Silvertown Tunnel to built through issuing a DCO. This DCO stipulates multiple requirements that TfL must deliver in order for the Silvertown Tunnel to be built and operate. Requirement 15 of the DCO specifically requires TfL to deliver a cross-river crossing provision for cyclists and pedestrians.
Who are STIG?
The DCO formed the Silvertown Tunnel Implementation Group, also known as STIG. It is a consultative body comprised of TfL, the GLA, 12 London Boroughs and National Highways. STIG have been central to the process undertaken to design an opening bus network for the Silvertown Tunnel.
Are you still intending to charge people for using Silvertown Tunnel?
Yes. Once Silvertown Tunnel opens, drivers will have to pay a user charge for using either the Blackwall or Silvertown Tunnel. The exact charge levels for various types of vehicle using the new tunnel will be decided closer to the opening date. This user charge will pay for building and maintaining the tunnel, but its main purpose is to help us manage traffic levels. Any surplus revenue will be reinvested into London’s transport network.
How do I find more information about the Silvertown Tunnel project?
You can read about the wider Silvertown Tunnel project on our Silvertown Tunnel project page or by visiting Riverlinx’s website. Riverlinx are the consortium delivering the Silvertown Tunnel through a design, build, finance and maintain contract.