Uber is today revealing its first permanent commuter boat service, launching in London with Thames Clippers.
Branded Uber Boats will travel from piers along the Thames from Putney to Woolwich, available in the Uber app.
Passengers can book tickets via the app, and then scan a QR code to board the Uber Boat. However the service will still be fully run by Thames Clippers.
It comes as commuters feel more wary of enclosed spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic, forcing companies towards new approaches to public transport.
Uber’s ride-hailing business has been significantly hit during the downturn, with global bookings falling 80 per cent in April.
“Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work,” said Jamie Heywood, Uber’s general manager for northern and eastern Europe.
Thames Clippers, which is majority owned by the O2 arena operator AEG, currently operates a fleet of 20 boats on the River Thames, with departures from 23 piers. It relaunched services after the coronavirus shutdown on 15 June, with reduced seating available and a requirement for face masks to be worn at all times.
Uber will not be taking a stake in Thames Clippers as part of the partnership. It will instead receive commission from each ticket sold for travel on an Uber Boat, though it did not say how much this would be.
Research carried out by Thames Clippers showed commuters will opt to increase their use the river service in future, due to the increased space and being able to travel in the fresh air.
More than 4.3m people used the service to commute and travel across London last year.