Uber Boat Launches in London

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

August 11, 2020

(Photo: Uber Boat by Thames Clippers)

(Photo: Uber Boat by Thames Clippers)

Uber is taking to the water in London. Earlier this month the international ride-hailing company marked the start of a partnership with water taxi operator Thames Clippers to provide its services on the River Thames.

The first vessel donning Uber Boat by Thames Clippers branding set sail on August 3 as part of a fleet of 20 passenger vessels departing from 23 piers across London from Putney in the west to Woolwich Royal Arsenal in the east.

Uber is rolling out the service on its app, meaning commuters and tourists can purchase tickets in advance to guarantee a seat and then use contactless QR technology to board. The payment will be processed using the Uber account details.

Sean Collins, Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO, said, “We’re excited that in this new world we are able to offer a new way of travelling through the capital by enabling multi-modal transport with a continued focus on great customer experience. This partnership reflects the resurgence of the river and we’re looking forward to welcoming new passengers on-board to enjoy the unique benefits of navigating London safely by taking to the Thames. We recently announced an expansion of the service out to Barking Riverside and the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers partnership will serve to boost our plans to expand further east and enhance our offering with connectivity in the west.”

More than 4.3 million people use the River Thames for commuting and leisure trips each year on the Thames Clippers network. The increased space per passenger and fresh air are part of the reason why more than 40% of river commuters are planning to increase their use of the service in the future, according to recent research carried out by Thames Clippers.

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber, said, “As Londoners begin to head back to work and safely move across the city, they will now be able to travel on both the river and road through the Uber app. We must ensure that everyone does not return to their cars in response to the crisis, so our vision is to end private car ownership in favor of shared, electric vehicles, as well as making greater use of the river network for urban mobility.”

Passengers will still be able to purchase tickets via the existing Thames Clippers’ sales channels, including touching in and out with contactless or Oyster to pay as you go and via its own ticketing app.

The boats and piers will be branded with a newly-created Uber Boat by Thames Clippers brand but the service will continue to be fully operated by Thames Clippers. There is no change in Thames Clippers’ ownership; AEG, owners and operators of The O2, own the majority stake in the company. AEG’s sponsorship division, AEG Global Partnerships, brokered the deal between Uber and Thames Clippers.

Following a temporary suspension due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, Thames Clippers resumed operation on June 15 with a number of changes to its services, including 100% fully contactless journeys, blocked off seating and floor makings to ensure physical distancing and PPE supplied for all staff. All passengers are required to use face coverings, in line with government and TfL guidance.

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