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Uber Boat by Thames Clippers launches in London

  • The partnership between Uber and Thames Clippers encourages people to travel by boat across the city.
  • Tickets can be purchased through the Uber app, with every passenger guaranteed a seat so they have the space to relax or catch up on work.
  • Over 4.3m people use the River Thames for commuting and leisure trips each year.

August, 3, 2020 – The first branded Uber Boat by Thames Clippers set sail on the River Thames today, marking the start of a partnership between Uber and Thames Clippers.

A fleet of 20 boats on the River Thames, with departures from 23 piers across London from Putney in the west to Woolwich Royal Arsenal in the east, will help commuters travel into the city in space and comfort. Leisure travellers will also be able to use the service, as city visitors look to safely travel across London as it gets moving once again.

Uber is rolling out the service on its app, meaning users can purchase tickets in advance to guarantee a seat and then use QR technology to board. The payment will be processed using the Uber account details.

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber, said: “As Londoners begin to head back to work and safely move across the city, they will now be able to 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.”

Sean Collins, Thames Clippers co-founder and CEO, said: “We’re excited that in this new world we are able to offer a new way of travelling through the capital by enabling multi-modal transport with a continued focus on great customer experience. This partnership reflects the resurgence of the river and we’re looking forward to welcoming new passengers on-board to enjoy the unique benefits of navigating London safely by taking to the Thames. We recently announced an expansion of the service out to Barking Riverside and the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers partnership will serve to boost our plans to expand further east and enhance our offering with connectivity in the west.”

Over 4.3m people use the River Thames for commuting and leisure trips each year on the Thames Clippers network. The increased space per passenger and fresh air are part of the reason why over 40 per cent of river commuters are planning to increase their use of the service in the future, according to recent research carried out by Thames Clippers.

Ticketing within the Uber app is powered by Masabi, the UK-headquartered company bringing Fare Payments-as-a-Service to more than 80 public transport operators and cities across 11 countries. Masabi has provided mobile ticketing for Thames Clippers since 2014, as well as Uber’s mobile ticketing partner in Ohio, Denver and Las Vegas.

Passengers will still be able to purchase tickets via the existing Thames Clippers’ sales channels, including touching in and out with contactless or Oyster to pay as you go and via its own ticketing app.

The boats and piers will be branded with a newly-created Uber Boat by Thames Clippers brand but the service will continue to be fully operated by Thames Clippers. There is no change in Thames Clippers’ ownership; AEG, owners and operators of The O2, own the majority stake in the company. AEG’s sponsorship division, AEG Global Partnerships, brokered the deal between Uber and Thames Clippers.

Following a temporary suspension due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, Thames Clippers resumed operation on June 15 with a number of changes to its services:

  • Making all journeys fully contactless
  • Supplying PPE for all staff
  • Blocking off seats and providing floor markings to ensure distancing
  • All passengers have to use face coverings if they wish to use the service, in line with government and TfL guidance.