Londoners will be able to zip along the Thames in an Uber Boat from today.
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.
When the partnership was announced last month, Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO Sean Collins added: “In our 22nd year of operation it is key that we continue to support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work.
"The new partnership sees Thames Clippers and Uber, who both pride themselves on safety, reliability and comfort, come together. It will allow us to link the two travel modes of river and road, providing Londoners and visitors with even more options to commute, visit, explore and enjoy our city by river.”
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.
A morning jaunt along the Thames? Don’t mind if we do.