A record number of journeys were made on the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry in 2019.
On the second anniversary of the contract with ferry operator Jetstream Tours, Thurrock Council and Kent County Council have revealed that 150,000 journeys a year are being made, a 40% increase since the start of the contract.
Subsidised by the 2 councils since 2001, the service is showing record levels of use thanks to a partnership with Jetstream, which has improved levels of service quality reliability and customer care.
There is a history of a ferry between Gravesend and Tilbury dating back to the 13th century. Since 2012, it has operated from a new pontoon off the town pier in Gravesend.
The service offers a 5-minute crossing time – considerably quicker than the Dartford Crossing. For this reason, the ferry is used by workers travelling to both Gravesend and Tilbury, as well as school children and leisure trips.
Cllr Ben Maney, Thurrock Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: "I'm pleased that the Gravesend to Tilbury ferry continues to provide a vital service and valuable link accessing both sides of the river, for our residents, visitors and people travelling to and from Thurrock for work.
"It's impressive that the number of journeys being made has increased by 40% since our partnership with Jetstream Tours and Kent County Council came about when this historic service was re-tendered in 2017.
"I hope that our commuters, school children and other residents in our borough can continue to take advantage of the ferry long into the future."
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Transport Michael Payne said: "It is great to see the service so well used and credit must go to the successful relationship we've formed with Jetstream who bring high levels of service and enthusiasm to the partnership.
"The arrangements we made when the service was contracted mean that with increasing usage there is less reliance on council subsidy which is positive for any number of reasons.
"I'm delighted that Kent and Thurrock residents value the service so much."
Richard Bain, managing director of Jetstream Tours, said: “We are grateful for the loyalty that our passengers have for the service and hope to continue to deliver a quality service for years to come.”