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. Tickets can also be bought via existing methods, including touching in and out with Oyster cards and through Thames Clippers’ own ticketing app.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said: “As Londoners begin to head back to work and move safely across the city, they will now be able to book 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 favour of shared, electric vehicles, as well as making greater use of the river network for urban mobility.”It’s not the first time Uber has launched a boating service. It has trialled an island-hopping boat service in Croatia and last summer offered punting ‘Ubers’ in Cambridge, but this is the first time it has offered a commuting-style boat service.With social distancing in mind, a boat commute could be a great option for getting to work safely.
Pre-pandemic, Thames Clippers carried just 1.4 passengers per square metres which was reduced to 0.85 during the last few months, while the tube saw five to seven people per square metre pre-pandemic which Tfl says has reduced to 1.3 passengers per square metre since March. 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.”Around 4.3 million people use the Thames for commuting each year and 40 per cent of passengers have said they will increase their use of Thames Clippers as we ease back into office working.