Bankside Pier is set to gain two new ferry services this year.
Collins River Enterprises last week unveiled its super-fast new Hurricane Clipper catamaran which will supplement the existing commuter service between Surrey Quays and Savoy Pier, with stops at Bankside and London Bridge City in SE1.
The 220-seater ferry boasts plush airline-style seats and an on-board refreshment service. Plasma screens will display news updates.
The boat – recently delivered from Australia – is currently moored at Greenland Pier in Surrey Quays, prior to going into service on 14 February.
Owner Sean Collins – formerly a captain for the failed RiverBus company – said: "We're getting bigger and better. My aim is to get many more boats running on the river. This is another step in establishing the Thames as a major commuter route."
Collins' commuter catamarans carried 250,000 passengers in 2001, and the company hopes to hit half a million this year.
The peak-hour service is a welcome addition to transport options in SE1, but it doesn't provide a viable all-day alternative to Tubes and buses. Transport for London's London River Services division is thought to be considering a regular hop-on service along the river.
The news comes less than a month after London Mayor Ken Livingstone awarded a £1.35 million contract to John Mowlem and Company to build a new pier at Millbank to enable a shuttle service to operate between Bankside Pier (for Tate Modern) and Tate Britain.
Millbank Millennium Pier is due to open in Autumn 2002,
Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota says: "Tate has long wanted to see increased use of the River by Londoners and a service linking two Tates will further strengthen public interest in this highway."