Uber is going to launch boat service in London, UK for commuters to travel via Thames River. The company has been wretched by the pandemic and now it is trying to diversify the business. It got into a partnership with Thames Clippers and will use their fleet to run Uber Boat service.
Thames Clippers is a commuter ferry who will provide its fleet of 20 boats and 23 piers between Putney and Woolwich. Boats and piers will now get Uber branding but the service will be operated by Thames Clippers. It means there will no opportunity for Uber drivers.
Why Ride-Hailing Company Is Launching Uber Boat?
Uber wanted this partnership to encourage commuters to use ferry service as it resumed normally since last month. It is required for the public to resume transit but studies have shown that passengers were hesitant to commute in the old way. Arity, a mobility data, and analytics firm for transportation found out that more than 40% of the commuters in the US still consider public transit is unsafe for travel.
London however is trying to guide people on how to commute now. Uber argued that its boat service was a viable solution for the problem of unsafe travel in buses, trains, tubes, etc. It claimed that everyone would be following the social distancing guidelines, wearing face masks, and the staff will be having the PPEs; precautions that are necessary for coronavirus prevention.
How Will Uber Boat in London Work?
Despite some problematic relationship with transport authority of London, TfL, Uber seems to have been allowed to keep operating in the country. Last year TfL refused to renew Uber’s license for the second time and its appeal is pending till September.
Nonetheless, users will be able to book a ride on the boat in the same way, using the company’s app. This will generate a QR code that can be used as a ticket to board the vehicle. It will operate on preset routes just like all ferries in London do. It will be a shared ride rather than a ride-hail like car or bike.
For payment method, all existing systems are available. Londoners can use contactless payment, credit/debit card while booking the ticket or simple oyster cards would work as well.
Did Uber Provide Boat Service Before?
Previously Uber has offered an island hopping service by boats in Croatia during only the summer seasons. It has done that for number of years but this is the first time Uber has offered a proper commuter service using boat.
This is a unique and much-disciplined system that will take time to bloom. It could be unattractive at first for those who used Uber for its flexibility such as hailing a ride whenever to wherever. The schedule of the ferry will remain fixed like Thames Clippers usually do. The riders will arrive at the pier at a certain time which can be missed.