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From the statesman-like to the supernatural - Londoners reveal their commuting ideals

5th September 2015 Print

One in every eight of the Capital’s dwellers (12.4 per cent) is jealous of Harry Potter’s broomstick as a mode of transport, followed by President Barack Obama’s Air Force One jet (10.6 per cent) and James Bond’s speed boat (8.3 per cent). Beating the traffic and staying above ground – sometimes quite a way above ground – is what Londoners yearn for from their daily commute.

As MBNA Thames Clippers ( begins the one month countdown to the launch of two brand new boats, the company that operates the only comprehensive commuter river bus service on the Thames has commissioned a survey to uncover the Capital’s commuting gripes.

Londoners’ biggest bugbear is the all too real stereotype of getting crammed into people’s smelly armpits as lack of personal space and smelly people are cited as the top two things Londoners hate most about their commute (16.3 per cent and 7.9 per cent, respectively).

The Capital cited a guaranteed seat on their commute as the number one thing that would make their journeys better (15.8 per cent choosing it). Almost as many again (14.7 per cent) said that the gloves are off and they do all they can to make sure they get a seat to make the journey more bearable. Having fresh air and the addition of working air conditioning in the summer or heating in the winter came a close second and third in the list of things that would make Londoners’ commutes better (15.4 per cent and 13.2 per cent respectively).

The main coping mechanism that commuters use is to block it all out and get lost in a book or newspaper or to put on headphones and listen to music or watch a film or TV show (used by 40.1 per cent of Londoners). Similarly, one in five (20.9 per cent) chooses to simply think happier thoughts such as holiday or weekend plans to counteract the everyday drudgery of commuting.

Sean Collins, CEO, MBNA Thames Clippers said: "Apparently we spend a total of 18 months of our lives commuting and while we can’t promise flying broomsticks or private speedboats, the permanent additional capacity with two new boats to our river bus services between Putney and Blackfriars offers a more comfortable and efficient commute for the increasing numbers of people who are capitalising on the benefit of travelling by water."

An investment of £6.5 million by MBNA Thames Clippers, Galaxy Clipper and Neptune Clipper will provide additional capacity across the Thames river network. The new boats are the first new additions to the popular fleet since 2008 and will be among the most technically advanced inland river and harbour fast ferries in the world. Featuring a new hull design that reduces resistance, the vessels have been developed with ground breaking engineering allowing them to operate in the unique strong tidal conditions of the River Thames while minimalising power.

The MBNA Thames Clippers river bus operation carried over 3.8 million passengers in 2014, avoiding the traffic and congestion in key locations such as Blackfriars, Embankment, Canary Wharf and London Bridge. MBNA Thames Clippers offers London’s commuters and visitors a comfortable and relaxed way to get from A to B and to take in the capital. For further details and to purchase tickets visit