Anyone brave enough to venture into London during the Olympics Games will be faced with the unenviable choice between endless traffic jams, or potentially being squashed like sardines on the London Underground.
However, an alternative means of transport exists in the form of the River Thames.
Companies such as Protection Services International, operated by former U.K. army commandos, have capitalized on the Thames’ ideal position – running right across the city – and are offering a water taxi service to zip from one location to the next with relative ease.
There’s just one drawback – a trip across the river and back, though not publicized, is believed to be in the ballpark of £15,000, which works out to be roughly $23,000.
The hefty price tag means that its clientele will be limited to the super rich. Verity Horner of PSI is expecting the service to be used by a “high network of individuals,” including VIPs, the senior management of large corporate firms and the Games’ sponsors.
Horner described the likely demographic as “the sorts of people” that “don’t want to sit in traffic, don’t want to travel on the tube, don’t queue for trains,” and, when asked by the Associated Press if they’d have to be rich as well, she admitted, “possibly, yes.”
It is a radical departure to the type of service PSI usually offers – protecting super tankers off the Horn of Africa from Somali pirates.
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However, David McIntosh, a PSI bodyguard and former commando, maintained that the two roles were not quite as different as they might outwardy seem. He told the AP, “It’s a massive event, people from all over the world coming here … There are going to be certain threats.”
McIntosh continued, “Any Royal Marine commando can adapt and transfer our skills that we’ve got from Iraq, from working round the Horn of Africa doing the anti-piracy stuff, and also from doing celebrity protection in Leicester Square.”
A boat ride along the Thames offers some phenomenal views. Many of London’s most iconic buildings, from the Houses of Parliament, to the Globe Theatre, where some of Shakespeare’s famous plays made their debut, to the London Eye, and the newly built Shard, the tallest building in Europe, are situated by the river.
The Thames is also a famed location when it comes to one (Olympic) sport: rowing. The river plays host to the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge universities.
But PSI are not the only ones making use of the River Thames during the Olympics. On June 28, Mayor of London Boris Johnson opened the Thames cable car river crossing, sponsored by Emirates Air Line, which links directly between two Olympics venues, the 02 Arena in Greenwich and the ExCel exhibition centre in East London.
(VIDEO: 10 Questions with Boris Johnson)
For the rest of us, though, it looks as if traditional, albeit slightly more uncomfortable forms of transport, will have to suffice.