In a company that’s teetering on the brink of being barred from London, Uber sure isn’t shy about bringing business prospects forward. Although the landmark appeal that will determine whether or not the ride-hailing app will be allowed to continue operating in London has been pushed back to September, Uber has announced its plans to introduce the new London scheme. Uber Boat will see the company run commuting on the water, with a fleet of twenty boats handling river services on the Thames.
Now, you’ll have noticed there’s already a twenty-strong fleet of boats on the Thames handling river services: the Thames Clippers. Uber Boat is a partnership between the two companies, one which will see the Thames Clipper boats rebranded under the Uber Boat banner, in a collaboration that the Guardian reports will run for at least three years.
Uber customers will be able to book a spot on the Uber Boat via their app when the service launches later this summer (the exact date is still TBC). However, there will be some variations from the current Uber model; the boats will run to a timetable, rather than the whim of the app user, and the existing fixed river routes – between Putney Pier upstream, and Woolwich Pier downstream – will be followed. Using a QR code on your phone, you will be able to board the Uber Boats, although non-Uber users will be able to purchase tickets elsewhere and use contactless or Oyster cards to travel. Happily, however you choose to pay, the price of the service won’t be increasing.
Uber eventually hopes to seamlessly integrate Uber Boat into its service, allowing you to get to your pier of choice and find an Uber driver waiting to ferry you on to the end of your journey. But, For now, you’ll need to sort your route onwards once the boat has docked – and don’t expect any 3 am pickups from the club from Uber Boat, either…