May 19, 2024

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Uber rebrand coming to London’s Thames Clipper commuter boat service

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The Thames Clipper has been serving London commuters for over 20 years.


Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

Uber’s latest move to make itself indispensable to London commuters is a new partnership with the British capital’s Thames Clipper boat service. The ride-hailing company announced on Wednesday that it has bought naming rights for the iconic riverboats that ferry people up and down the River Thames.

Starting later this summer, the Thames Clipper, which has served Londoners and tourists since 1999, will be renamed Uber Boat and will be bookable through the Uber app. Passengers will be able to board the boats by a scanning a QR code on their phones.

If you don’t use Uber, you’ll still be able to use the service. Tickets will also be available elsewhere, and it will remain part of the city’s Oyster network, which encompasses underground, overground and bus services.

The expansion into waterborne transportation comes at a tricky time in Uber’s relationship with London. The company is currently battling to regain its license to operate its ride-hailing service in the city after its request to renew was denied in September 2017, and then again in November 2019. The service is still operating while it appeals the decision made by London transport regulator TfL. An appeal hearing was previously scheduled to take place this week, but has been delayed until September due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Uber believes the popularity of the boat service is likely to soar as people begin to return to work and venture out into the city more as lockdown restrictions lift. “Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work,” said Uber’s European General Manager Jamie Heywood in a statement.

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