London commuters and visitors can now celebrate their latest love affair with the Thames as the aptly-named Venus Clipper sails into town.
The high-tech new catamaran is making her maiden voyage – travelling 200 nautical miles from Wight Shipyard where she was built on the Isle of Wight – before joining the MBNA Thames Clippers fleet in the capital.
As the 19th vessel to join the leading river bus service, the 222-capacity passenger boat represents a £4 million investment for MBNA Thames Clippers.
By adding flexibility across its busy network of routes, Venus Clipper is expected to help transport an extra 300,000 commuters and visitors across the 25-kilometre river network every year while also boosting the operator’s charter offering.
The new boat features over 70 tabled seats, making it more adaptable for commuters and specialist charters alike.
Sean Collins, chief executive and co-founder of MBNA Thames Clippers, said: “MBNA Thames Clippers has been on an incredible journey over the last two decades and come such a long way since we transported our first passengers back in 1999.
“We are now in our 20th anniversary year and have grown to carry over four million passengers annually – an amazing feat and proof that London should make more of the River Thames in its transport strategy.
“Venus Clipper is our largest capacity vessel and offers 50 more seats than the last two vessels that joined our fast-growing fleet in 2017.
“We are confident it will be a welcome, and even greater customer experience, addition to the capital’s growing river network.”
With more Londoners opting to travel by river every year, the new arrival is part of a wider strategy to enhance the passenger experience, with a new riverboat terminal at Royal Wharf Pier on target to open this summer.