Uber Is Launching On The Thames With The Arrival Of ‘Uber Boat’

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Uber Boat

One presumes they won’t be calling the Uber Boat service the ‘U Boat’ for short…

For a company that’s teetering on the verge of being banned from London, Uber sure isn’t shy of pushing ahead with business opportunities. Whilst the landmark appeal which will decide whether or not the ride-hailing app can continue operating in London has been pushed back until September, Uber has announced plans to launch a new scheme in London. Uber Boat will see the company run commuting on the water, with a fleet of twenty boats handling river services on the Thames.

Now, the keen-eyed amongst you will have spotted that there’s already a twenty-strong fleet of boats handling river services on the Thames: the Thames Clippers. Uber Boat is a partnership between the two companies, one which will see the Thames Clipper boats rebranded under the Uber Boat banner, in a partnership that the Guardian reports will run for at least three years.

When the service launches later this summer (an exact date is still TBC), Uber users will be able to book a spot on the Uber Boat through their app. There will be some differences from the current Uber model, however; the boats will run to a timetable, rather than the whim of the app user, and the existing fixed river routes – between Putney Pier upstream, and Woolwich Pier downstream – will be followed. You’ll be able to board the Uber Boats using a QR code on your phone, though non-Uber users will be able to buy tickets elsewhere, and use contactless or Oyster cards to make journeys. Happily, however you choose to pay, the price of the service won’t be increasing.

Eventually, Uber hopes to intergrate Uber Boat seamlessly into its service, to let you arrive at your pier of choice and find an Uber driver waiting to ferry you on to the end of your journey. For now however, you’ll need to sort your own route onwards once the boat has docked – and don’t expect any 3am pickups from the club from Uber Boat, either…

Speaking of the Thames, here are twenty-five fascinating facts about the river you may not know about.

Also published on Medium.

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