Uber Boats launched in London

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The FINANCIAL — The first branded Uber Boat by Thames Clippers set sail on the River Thames on August the 3rd, marking the start of a partnership between Uber and Thames Clippers. A fleet of 20 boats on the River Thames, with departures from 23 piers across London from Putney in the west to Woolwich Royal Arsenal in the east, will help commuters travel into the city in space and comfort. Over 4.3m people use the River Thames for commuting and leisure trips each year on the Thames Clippers network.

Uber announced its partnership with Thames Clippers in early July, which will see river boats emblazoned with Uber branding and passengers able to buy tickets directly through the Uber app. The payment will be processed using Uber account details and passengers will then be able to use QR technology to board. The service is still operated in full by Thames Clippers and the multi-year partnership will see passengers being able to board one of the boats at any of the 23 piers from Putney to Woolwich Arsenal, as reported by Evening Standard.

The move marks Uber’s first foray into fixed-scheduled commuter boats in its 11-year history, as the future of its London ride-hailing operations remains uncertain. The ride-hailing titan has previously trialled boat-hailing services for tourists in Croatia, Turkey and the US. Uber’s application for a new licence was rejected by Transport for London (TfL) last November due to safety concernsities. It has been allowed to continue operating while an appeal against the ruling is pending, City A.M wrote.

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Uber Boat By Thames Clippers at Canary Wharf

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.”

  • There are never more people on board than the number of available seats. So you’ll always have plenty of space to relax or catch up on work.
  • Just purchase your ticket in the Uber app, turn up at the pier, and you’re ready to sail.
  • With 23 piers across London and an extensive service in both directions, you may be surprised at how much of your commute could be covered by boat.
  • With certain seats marked off on board, passengers can observe social distancing. Hand sanitisers and daily deep cleans are also in operation for peace of mind when travelling.
  • Sit back with your morning coffee or enjoy a glass of wine on your way home at the on-board café and bar.
  • Catch up with work or stay connected with friends and family while you travel, with free wifi at select piers and access to your 4G on board.

Ticketing within the Uber app is powered by Masabi, the UK-headquartered company bringing Fare Payments-as-a-Service to more than 80 public transport operators and cities across 11 countries. Masabi has provided mobile ticketing for Thames Clippers since 2014, as well as Uber’s mobile ticketing partner in Ohio, Denver and Las Vegas.

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.

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Over 4.3m 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 over 40 per cent of river commuters are planning to increase their use of the service in the future, according to recent research carried out by Thames Clippers.

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