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A river commuter service from the Thames estuary to Central London could start within five years, according to the boss of MBNA Thames Clippers.

Sean Collins, founder and chief executive of the river passenger company, also predicted numbers on its services would top four million this year and e expects them to reach seven million by 2020.

He was speaking following a presentation by the Port of London Authority about increasing use of the tidal river in London.  

Mr Collins, who started the service with one boat in 1999, said it had always been his vision to offer a service from Gravesend into central London but it had needed a boost in demand for off-peak business to make it worthwhile.

“I believe London Paramount Park could be the answer to that and by that time a lot of other riverside developments will also be under way or completed.”

London Paramount Entertainment Resort is planned on the Swanscombe peninsula in North Kent and will combine a theme park, theatres and cinemas among other attractions and is due to open in 2020.

Once the commuter service starts the journey time between Gravesend and Canary Wharf would be about 45 – 50 minutes including six or seven stops on the route, he said.

Asked to name a date Mr Collins said: “I would think by 2020 there will be a service operating.”

As previously reported by RTN, two newly-built  MBNA Thames Clippers are currently on their way from Australia to start work on the river from Putney later this year. A further vessel – an executive launch for carrying stars and VIPs to and from the 02 at Greenwich - is also nearing completion.

Thames Clippers currently has a fleet of 13 vessels and operates on the river between Woolwich and Putney.

Story dated Sept 16th 2015