Uber has been in headlines often quite lately for numerous reasons! In the recent one, the San-Francisco-based ride-hailing app signed a partnership with Thames Clippers to launch boat service.
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers
According to the partnership, Thames Clippers vessels – a 20-strong fleet of boats and 23 piers between Putney and Woolwich will be branded as “Uber Boat by Thames Clippers”. But the service will continue to be fully operated by Thames Clippers.
This move comes as a desperate attempt to revive and diversify its business after being hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Uber reported $2.9 billion (approx €2.6 billion) loss in the first quarter of 2020 and laid off thousands of employees as well.
Tickets on Uber app
According to Thames Clippers, the partnership between the company and Uber encourages more people to travel by boat around the city and supports the ongoing expansion of the river network across London. Uber users can purchase tickets in advance through the Uber app and then use QR technology to board the boats.
Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber, said: “Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work. Later this summer we will launch the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers partnership in London as a means for people to travel into the City by water, which will be fully integrated through the Uber app.
Linking river and road
It’s worth mentioning that the payment will be processed using the user’s Uber account details. On the other hand, Londoners will continue to be able to purchase tickets via the existing channels, including contactless cards and Oyster.
Sean Collins, co-founder, and CEO, Thames Clippers, said: “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 the river. Watch this space; the partnership will support the ongoing expansion of our network, opening up more of London to fast, reliable journeys by water.”
Wearing mask is compulsory
A couple of years back, Uber announced an island-hopping option on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. But this is the first time Uber has offered fix-scheduled commuter boats. As per Transport for London (TfL) guidance passengers will be required to wear masks, while staff will have PPE.
Uber & London – Not a great story
To reiterate, Uber’s relationship with London’s transport authority has not been great over the few months. Back in November, Uber lost its licence due to several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk.
The TfL also said 14,000 trips taken involved unauthorised drivers who had faked their identity on the Uber app. However, Uber appealed that decision and was later granted permission to operate for 15 months.
Thames Clippers operates a fleet of 20 vessels and now carries over 4 million passengers a year. The riverboat services stretch from Putney to Royal Arsenal Woolwich.
Main image credits: Thames Clippers