During lockdown, the number of people using the London Underground has dropped significantly.
Londoners and commuters from outside the capital have heeded the warning that you should only use it for necessary journeys to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But many of us have not missed using the Tube – so what if there was another way to get around the capital that’s a lot less hot, sweaty and busy?
Uber has joined up with Thames Clippers for the launch of its new service, Uber Boat.
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The service, which commences in London today (Monday, August 3), will allow users to purchase tickets for Thames Clippers boats in advance through the Uber app and then use QR technology to board.
The payment will be processed using Uber account details.
Passengers will be able to use the service across a fleet of 20 boats on the River Thames, with departures from 23 piers across London.
Thames Clippers’ users can still purchase tickets via the existing methods, including touching in and out with contactless or Oyster and via its own ticketing app.
More than 4.3 million people use the River Thames for commuting and leisure trips each year on the Thames Clippers network, the company said.
Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said the Uber Boat service is a crucial instrument in helping commuters return to work safely.
He said: “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.
“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.”
Uber Boat is another example of the company’s attempts to expand its services beyond road travel, following the 2017 announcement of its grand plans to introduce networks of flying taxis under the name Uber Air.
Uber has previously had a tough time making inroads in London, primarily due to repeated licensing issues.
The firm first had their London private hire operator’s licence revoked by Transport for London (TfL) in 2017 due to safety concerns.
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Uber was eventually granted a 15-month licence following an appeal, however TfL refused the ride-sharing firm’s application for another new licence late last year after at least 14,000 trips were made with drivers who were not the ones shown on the app.
An appeal against the decision is still ongoing.