London’s famous Thames Clippers will now be known as “Uber Boats by Thames Clippers,” and Uber users will be able to book journeys through the Uber app.
A formal partnership will be launched this summer, allowing Uber users to get a QR code via the app, in a rolling contract that is expected to last three years, according to The Guardian.
Riders will be able to travel along the network from the 23 piers across London from Putney to Woolwich Arsenal.
It’s not the first time Uber has ventured into boating services, but it is the first time it has moved into fixed-schedule commuter boats.
“Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and Eastern Europe, told The Evening Standard. “Later this summer we will launch the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers in London as a means for people to arrange travel on the river and road, all through the Uber app.”
Uber’s earnings decline amid the pandemic, chiefly caused by sharp drops in ride shares helped fuel the partnership, but is also the result of companies and municipalities finding new ways to move people in socially distant ways.
The city of London is investing in cycling infrastructure as a result of the pandemic, and the British government has fast-tracked its e-scooter rental trials, according to The Verge.
Uber is arguing that its boats could offer a better solution than the crowded underground tube system. Passengers will be required to wear face masks in line with Transport for London guidance, and staff will have PPE.