Uber Launches Boat Service in London to Provide a New Approach to Public Transport

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Uber Officially Launches Boat Services ‘UberBOAT’ in Lagos

Oluwadamilola Adebusoye

Uber has announced a partnership with Thames Clippers commuter service to launch the rebranded Uber boats in London as Uber’s ride-hailing business continues to experience a significant drop-off with global bookings falling 80% in April. This might be closely linked with the reluctance of workers to commute to work in the way they did before the pandemic.

Boat service in London

A poll compiled by the accountancy and consultancy firm, Theta Financial Reporting revealed that 70% of Londoners feel threatened by the idea of commuting to work via public transport, necessitating a need for new approaches to public transport.

Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work. 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

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s general manager for northern and eastern Europe.

This multi-year partnership will be launched later this summer with Riverboats by Thames Clippers rebranded as Uber boats. Thames Clippers, which operates the London River Bus service on the Thames will continue to operate as it has previously but passengers will be able to buy tickets via the Uber app.

The Chief executive and Co-founder of Thames Clippers, Sean Collins said: “In our 22nd year of operation it is key that we continue to support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work. The new partnership will allow us to link the two travel modes of river and road, providing Londoners and visitors with even more options to commute, visit, explore and enjoy our city by river.”

Thames boat service resumed on 15 June after being closed when the coronavirus outbreak forced countries into lockdowns. To promote the safety of commuters and travellers, it reduced capacity and mandated passengers to wear face masks in line with the Transport for London (TfL) guidance.

With more than 4.3 million people using the riverboat service to commute across London last year, the prospects of success for this partnership is encouraging.

 Commuter Boat Service in Nigeria

Boat travelling is not out of place in Nigeria in that waterways cut across several coastal towns and cities. Incorporation of boats by ride-hailing firms could help commuters avoid the congested roads, especially in megacities like Lagos.

 In October 2019, Uber in partnership with the local boat operator, Texas Connection Ferries and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) launched the pilot test of its boat service in Lagos. According to a statement by Uber, the initiative aimed at providing commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts.

Uber Officially Launches Boat Service ‘UberBOAT’ in Lagos

Another Company tapping into the prospects of boat travelling in Nigeria is the Lagos Ferry Services Company (LAGFERRY). The company operates in all the 40 inland waterways in Lagos. On July 7th, the Managing Director of the company, Mr AbdoulBaq Balogun said the company has a target of transporting 480,000 people daily on the waterways of Lagos State.

“With about 1.6 million people moving on Lagos roads every day, we are being tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that we move at least 30 percent of these motorists off the roads through the waterways. That gives us about 480,000 passengers. So, moving 480,000 passengers is our daily target on the waterways of Lagos State.”

AbdoulBaq Balogun

Already boasting of moving over 60,000 passengers in 77 days, the company have high hopes of achieving their goals. Having more commuter boat services within Lagos and Nigeria amidst various challenges could be a turning point for our transportation system.


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