Uber Boat begins first services on River Thames, London


Today marks the start of a partnership between Uber, Thames Clippers and Masabi, which will allow London commuters to purchase tickets and reserve seats on existing river taxi services using the Uber app for the first time, creating a multi-modal service to help enable social distancing.

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% of river commuters are planning to increase their use of the service in the future, according to recent research carried out by Thames Clippers.

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.

The River Thames at sunset

Following a temporary suspension due to Covid-19 lockdown measures, Thames Clippers resumed operation on 15 June with a number of changes to its services: Including making all journeys fully contactless, supplying PPE for all staff, blocking off seats and providing floor markings to ensure distancing and requiring all passengers to use face coverings if they wish to use the service, in line with government and TfL guidance.

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.

“As Londoners begin to head back to work and move safely across the city, they will now be able to book travel on both the river and road through the Uber app,” says Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber. “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.”



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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).