May 24 2013 Latest news:
by Tim Lamden
Thursday, December 29, 2011
A ferry service set to link Tottenham Hale to the London 2012 Olympics site during the Games has been attacked for its “extortionate” fares which critics claim will leave most Tottenham residents on the riverbank.
Water Chariots Ltd plans to run a fleet of 28 boats along the River Lee from Tottenham Lock directly to the Olympic Park.
But, with tickets starting at £20 for a one-way journey and £40 for an unlimited all-day pass, many believe the firm has overlooked the customers on its doorstep.
Tottenham MP David Lammy has written to Water Chariots urging it to offer half-price fares to local residents booking in advance.
In the letter, Mr Lammy calls the current prices “staggeringly high” in light of benefits cutbacks and Tottenham having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
He wrote: “With your decision to charge extortionate amounts for travel to the site, [Tottenham residents] may well be denied the chance to even experience the Olympic Park at all.”
Some residents are also less than impressed. Jeanette Sitton, of Reedham Close, Tottenham Hale, branded the service an “opportunity to make a fast buck”, while Maz Meszaros, who lives next to the Lee in Bream Close, raised concerns about the health and safety of kayakers and canoeists who use the river.
She said: “If I wanted to go to the Olympic site, I’d use a bike – I can be there in 15 minutes.”
But Peter Coleman, managing director of Water Chariots, insisted the plans were a “great thing for the borough” with 100 vacancies available for Haringey’s “unemployed youth” to work on the boats when the route opens for business next year.
He described the ferry service, which will take 50 minutes to reach the Olympic Park from Tottenham Hale, as an upmarket “toe-tapping experience” not specifically aimed at Tottenham residents, with jazz bands and Pimm’s on offer.
He said: “It’s a business to bring people into the area, not to service local people. We’ve got a lot of people coming into London and it’s a great way to kick-start a business.”
The company will also run barge services from Limehouse Basin in Docklands to the Olympic site.