Uber Boat by Thames Clippers
London River Services
LocaleLondon, England
WaterwayRiver Thames
Transit typeRiver bus and tourist/leisure services
OwnerNorthleaf Capital Partners
Began operation24 May 1999; 25 years ago (1999-05-24)
No. of lines4
No. of vessels23
No. of terminals24
Websitewww.thamesclippers.com
Thames Clippers logo, pre-Uber partnership

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers is a set of river bus services on the River Thames in London, England.

The company operates both commuter services between eastern and Central London and tourist services under licence from London River Services. At present they transport around 10,000 passengers daily on average.

Company

Sean Collins co-founded Thames Clippers in 1999 with partner Alan Woods as Collins River Enterprises. Thames Clippers was then taken over in September 2006 by the American Anschutz Entertainment Group,[1] who promised substantial investment into the company to upgrade the services and to provide a more frequent "hop-on-hop-off" between Central London and The O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome), also owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. In 2007 the company purchased six new catamarans to be used on the commuter service in order to carry a large number of passengers in a comfortable environment. In 2015 and 2017, a total of four new 'Hunt Class' catamarans were purchased for use primarily on the RB6 Service.[2]

In July 2020, the company announced a partnership with U.S.-based ride-sharing service Uber, which acquired naming rights to the ferry and rebranding the service as Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.[3][4][5][6]

In April 2022, global private markets investment firm Northleaf Capital Partners ("Northleaf") acquired a majority interest in Uber Boat by Thames Clippers from AEG, promising to bring new investment to support the company's plans to deliver sustainable growth, enhanced infrastructure and greater economic development on and around the River Thames.[7]

Tickets

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers operate under licence from Transport for London. The river boat service is now better integrated into the tube and bus ticketing network. From November 2009, Thames Clippers services started to accept Oyster pay as you go on all of its services, which also provides a discount on single and return fares. Contactless payment is also accepted.[8]

A River Roamer ticket, valid for one day, is available from Thames Clippers which allows the holder to hop on and hop off along the banks of the Thames between Putney Pier and Barking Riverside Pier (including the Canary Wharf - Rotherhithe Ferry). The cost is £21.00 for an adult and £42.00 for a family. An adult single trip fare changes depending on zones. They range from £5.20 to £14.70 (or £4.80 to £13.50 if payment is made online, in app or with an oyster or contactless card).[9] There is a one third discount for holders of valid travelcards (excluding Family River Roamer tickets and fares for The O2 Express).

Special river service season tickets, valid for either 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year, are also available. Discounts for travelcard holders are also available on season tickets. Carnet tickets are also available via the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers tickets app.

Park and Glide tickets are also available which grant access to the car park at The O2, and the River Bus.

Commuter services

RB1

During weekday mornings and evenings & throughout the weekend the service runs from Westminster in the west to Barking Riverside in the east. On weekday daytimes between the peak hours the service is truncated and serves piers between Battersea Power Station and Royal Wharf. The service also runs on weekends as well as on weekdays. Stops from west to east:[10]

Pier Zone Interchanges Service notes
Battersea Power Station Central London Underground Battersea Power Station Weekdays during off-peak only
Vauxhall (St George Wharf) Central London Underground National Rail Vauxhall Weekdays during off-peak only
Millbank Central Weekdays during off-peak only
Westminster Central London Underground Westminster
London Eye (Waterloo) Central London Underground National Rail Waterloo Eastbound only
Embankment Central London Underground Embankment
Blackfriars Central London Underground National Rail Blackfriars Peak hours only
Bankside Central London Underground National Rail Blackfriars
London Bridge City Central London Underground National Rail London Bridge
Tower Central London Underground Tower Hill Docklands Light Railway Tower Gateway National Rail Fenchurch Street
Canary Wharf Central and East London Underground Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Canary Wharf Elizabeth line Canary Wharf
Greenland (Surrey Quays) East London Underground London Overground Canada Water Weekdays only
Masthouse Terrace East Docklands Light Railway Mudchute
Greenwich East Docklands Light Railway Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich
North Greenwich East London Underground North Greenwich
Royal Wharf East Docklands Light Railway West Silvertown
Woolwich (Royal Arsenal) East Docklands Light Railway National Rail Woolwich Arsenal Elizabeth line Woolwich Weekday mornings and evenings & weekends only
Barking Riverside East London Overground Barking Riverside Weekday mornings and evenings & weekends only

RB2

The service runs all day on weekends between Putney and North Greenwich. Stops from west to east:[11]

Pier Zone Interchanges Service notes
Putney West London Underground Putney Bridge National Rail Putney Weekends only
Wandsworth Riverside Quarter West National Rail Wandsworth Town Weekends only
Chelsea Harbour West London Overground National Rail Imperial Wharf Weekends only
Battersea Power Station Central London Underground Battersea Power Station Weekends only
Vauxhall (St George Wharf) Central London Underground National Rail Vauxhall Weekends only
Millbank Central Weekends only
Westminster Central London Underground Westminster Weekends only
Embankment Central London Underground Embankment Weekends only
Bankside Central London Underground National Rail Blackfriars Weekends only
London Bridge City Central London Underground National Rail London Bridge Weekends only
Tower Central London Underground Tower Hill Docklands Light Railway Tower Gateway National Rail Fenchurch Street Weekends only
Canary Wharf Central and East London Underground Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Canary Wharf Elizabeth line Canary Wharf Weekends only
Greenland (Surrey Quays) East London Underground London Overground Canada Water Weekends only
Greenwich East Docklands Light Railway Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich Weekends only
North Greenwich East London Underground North Greenwich Weekends only

RB4

Main article: Canary Wharf – Rotherhithe Ferry

Thames Clippers operates the direct cross river Canary Wharf – Rotherhithe Ferry, between Canary Wharf Pier and the Doubletree Docklands Nelson Dock Pier at the DoubleTree Docklands in Rotherhithe. The service uses smaller boats than the commuter service but runs at a higher frequency of every 20 minutes and every 10 minutes during peak times. The ferry can be used by guests of the hotel free of charge as well as by passengers not staying at the hotel at a cost.[12][13]

Pier Zone Interchanges
Canary Wharf Central and East London Underground Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Canary Wharf Elizabeth line Canary Wharf
Doubletree Docklands Nelson Dock East

RB6

This service runs on weekday mornings and evenings between Putney and Canary Wharf. During the weekday off peak, the service is extended to Royal Wharf. Stops from west to east:[14]

Pier Zone Interchanges Service notes
Putney West London Underground Putney Bridge National Rail Putney Weekdays only
Wandsworth Riverside Quarter West National Rail Wandsworth Town Weekdays only
Plantation Wharf West London Overground National Rail Clapham Junction Weekdays only
Chelsea Harbour West London Overground National Rail Imperial Wharf Weekdays only
Cadogan West Weekdays only
Battersea Power Station Central London Underground Battersea Power Station Weekdays only
Vauxhall (St George Wharf) Central London Underground National Rail Vauxhall Weekdays only
Millbank Central Weekdays only
Westminster Central London Underground Westminster Weekdays only
London Eye (Waterloo) Central London Underground National Rail Waterloo Eastbound only, weekdays during off-peak only
Embankment Central London Underground Embankment Weekdays only
Blackfriars Central London Underground National Rail Blackfriars Weekdays only
Bankside Central London Underground National Rail Blackfriars Weekdays only
London Bridge City Central London Underground National Rail London Bridge Weekdays only
Tower Central London Underground Tower Hill Docklands Light Railway Tower Gateway National Rail Fenchurch Street Weekdays only
Canary Wharf Central and East London Underground Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway Canary Wharf Elizabeth line Canary Wharf Weekdays only
Greenland (Surrey Quays) East London Underground London Overground Canada Water Weekdays during off-peak only
Masthouse Terrace East Docklands Light Railway Mudchute Weekdays during off-peak only
Greenwich East Docklands Light Railway Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich Weekdays during off-peak only
North Greenwich East London Underground North Greenwich Weekdays during off-peak only
Royal Wharf East Docklands Light Railway West Silvertown Weekdays during off-peak only

Trial service to Gravesend

In September 2017, Thames Clippers ran a trial commuter service between Gravesend and Central London.[15]
On 4 November 2022, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers announced that they had completed the purchase of Gravesend Town Pier, with an aim to operating long-term River Bus services from the pier within the next 2–3 years.[16]

Visitor/tourist services

Tate to Tate

The Tate to Tate is a ticketed leisure service between the Tate Modern at Bankside Pier and the Tate Britain at Millbank Pier. Passengers travel on the RB1 service on weekdays and the RB2 at weekends. Tickets can be purchased from the Tate galleries in addition to standard options.[17]

The O2 Express

The O2 Express is an express service from North Greenwich Pier calling at London Bridge City Pier, London Eye (Waterloo) Pier and Battersea Power Station Pier. The service also provides private charters.

Fleet

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers operates a fleet of 23 vessels.[18]

Name Colour Length Passengers Type Builder Built Acquired Image
Mars Clipper Flame red 38m 230 Hunt Class Mk IV Wight Shipyard 2023 2023
Celestial Clipper Lilac 38m 230 Hunt Class Mk IV Wight Shipyard 2023 2023
Earth Clipper Earth green 38m 230 Hunt Class Mk IV Wight Shipyard 2023 2023
Venus Clipper Emerald 38m 220 Hunt Class Mk III Wight Shipyard 2018 2019
Jupiter Clipper Gold 35m 172 Hunt Class Mk II Wight Shipyard 2017 2017
Mercury Clipper Silver 35m 172 Hunt Class Mk II Wight Shipyard 2017 2017
Galaxy Clipper Yellow 35m 150 Hunt Mk I Incat 2015 2015
Neptune Clipper Purple 35m 150 Hunt Class Mk I Incat 2015 2015
Aurora Clipper Powder blue 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mk IIB 'Typhoon Class' BSC Marine 2008 2008
Meteor Clipper Spiced red 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mk IIB 'Typhoon class' BSC Marine 2008 2008
Cyclone Clipper Orange 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mk IIB 'Typhoon Class' BSC Marine 2007 2007
Monsoon Clipper Pink 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mk IIB 'Typhoon Class' BSC Marine 2007 2007
Tornado Clipper Mint 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mk IIB 'Typhoon Class' BSC Marine 2007 2007
Typhoon Clipper Purple 38m 220 River Runner 200 Mk IIB 'Typhoon Class' BSC Marine 2007 2007
Hurricane Clipper Green 38m 220 River Runner 200 MkII NQEA 2001 2001
Moon Clipper Violet 32m 138 River Runner 150 Mk II NQEA 2001 2005
Sun Clipper Pastel Yellow 32m 138 River Runner 150 Mk II NQEA 2001 2005
Sky Clipper Aqua 25m 62 FBM Hydrocat FBM 1992 1999
Star Clipper Lemon 25m 62 FBM Hydrocat FBM 1992 1999
Storm Clipper Wine red 25m 62 FBM Hydrocat FBM 1992 1999
Twinstar Clipper RB4 brown 19m 120 Class V ? 1976 2004
Comet Clipper DHL yellow ? 12 Executive Launch ? ? 2019
Orion Clipper White ? 12 Executive Launch ? ? 2016

Accidents

On 2 May 2004, a woman was killed after she was hit, while waiting for a boat, by a mooring bollard which had come loose from the Star Clipper at St. Katherine's Pier.[19]

On 4 October 2011 at 7pm, the Moon Clipper hit the Tower Millennium Pier when it was carrying about 50 people. Four people were injured.[20]

On 31 December 2014, Moon Clipper hit a moored vessel, Mercuria, while running light back to Trinity Buoy Wharf. The vessel was then repaired, and returned to service on 5 February 2015.

On 5 December 2016, the Typhoon Clipper collided with the workboat Alison, resulting in the sinking of the workboat. The two crew members on the workboat were taken to hospital.[21]

On 20 September 2022, the Moon Clipper had an engine fire while working on the RB6 Service to Putney. No one was hurt, but the vessel was evacuated, and spent a few months in drydock being repaired

Expansion

A Policy Exchange report from 2010 advocated significant expansion in river services on the Thames. The aim of the report is to lead to a "river tube line" being created which would lead to easing of current congestion on London's transport systems, and better quality of travel, at a significantly cheaper price than other options. Opponents note that the river capacity, especially at low tide could mean a reduction of tourist boats (especially at peak commuter times), and turn the Thames into an urban highway which would be detrimental to London. To be feasible, the report calls for better management of river traffic, improved interchange with other public transport modes and expansion of key piers.[22]

The Mayor of London is responsible for the River Concordat group,[23] which is made-up of over forty different organisations including Thames Clippers. The publication, By the River,[24] sets out the strategic vision for improving river transport on the Thames.

Plans were announced in 2018 to expand further east down the river start with a calling at a pier in Silvertown in October 2019 and plans in the future to go to Thamesmead and Barking.[25] Proposals to extend the service westward to newly built piers at Fulham (as part of the Craven Cottage Riverside Stand development),[26] and Hammersmith have met stiff opposition due to the heavy use of that stretch of river by rowing and sailing clubs.[27][28]

In 2017, Thames Clippers and London Resort made a deal for the provision of Clipper services between Central London and the proposed theme park located on the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent.[29] The Thames Clipper services are also planned to operate between the theme park and a park & ride car park located on the north side of the River Thames in Tilbury Docks. These services are scheduled to start operation when the theme park opens in 2024.[30]

Cyclone Clipper in new Uber branding

Sponsorship

The first company to enter a partnership with Thames Clippers was NatWest in 2008. The boats were reliveried in black sponsorship stickers displaying the NatWest and Thames Clippers Logo. KPMG won a three-year sponsorship deal in 2011 and sponsored the clippers during the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.[31] In August 2014, MBNA the bank holding company signed a three-year sponsorship deal with Thames Clippers, and introduced a better ticketing system.[32] In June 2020, American company Uber entered a new partnership with Thames Clippers whereby they won naming rights to the service. As of 2020, the service has been rebranded as "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers".[33]

References

  1. ^ "Money". Telegraph.co.uk. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  2. ^ Capital Clippers, Ships Monthly, March 2016, pp. 42-45
  3. ^ Keane, Jonathan. "Uber Is Setting Sail On The Thames With Its Latest Transport Gambit". Forbes. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Uber to launch London commuter boat service with Thames Clippers". Msn.com. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  5. ^ Lekach, Sasha (9 July 2020). "Uber Boat takes over London commuter ferry for water rides". Mashable. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  6. ^ "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers". thamesclippers.com. 8 July 2020. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Northleaf Capital Partners acquires majority interest in Uber Boat by Thames Clippers | Northleaf Capital". www.northleafcapital.com. Retrieved 10 January 2023.
  8. ^ "News in Canary Wharf | InYourArea". Wharf.co.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  9. ^ Thames Clippers. "Thames Clippers fares". Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  10. ^ "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Timetable effective from 8 June 2024" (PDF). Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Retrieved 26 June 2024.
  11. ^ "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Timetable effective from 8 June 2024" (PDF). Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Retrieved 26 June 2024.
  12. ^ "Directions to Doubletree Hotel London Docklands - Hotel and Area Map". 3.hilton.com.
  13. ^ "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Timetable effective from 8 June 2024" (PDF). Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Retrieved 26 June 2024.
  14. ^ "Uber Boat by Thames Clippers Timetable effective from 8 June 2024" (PDF). Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Retrieved 26 June 2024.
  15. ^ "MBNA Thames Clippers trials boat commute from Gravesend to London". Kentonline.co.uk. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  16. ^ "London's leading River Bus service takes ownership of Gravesend Town Pier". Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Retrieved 14 November 2022.
  17. ^ "Tate Boat". Tate.org.uk. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Meet the fleet". Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.
  19. ^ "Woman 'killed by mooring bollard'". BBC News. 18 February 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Thames riverboat crashes into Tower Millennium Pier". BBC News. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Collision between a passenger vessel and a workboat - News stories". Gov.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Policy Exchange - Shaping the Policy Agenda" (PDF). Policyexchange.org.uk.
  23. ^ "By the river : Greater London Authority". Archived from the original on 24 March 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  24. ^ "By The River" (PDF). April 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2022.
  25. ^ "How MBNA Thames Clippers wants to roll out river ferry services across east London". InYourArea.co.uk. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Riverside Stand Passenger Pier Proposal". Fulham FC. 12 August 2021. Retrieved 12 June 2024.
  27. ^ Quarrell, Rachel (27 March 2023). "Why Fulham could put a stop to any further Boat Race risk-taking". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 12 June 2024.
  28. ^ https://felixonline.co.uk/issue/1800/sport-societies/fulham-fc-s-bid-to-extend-their-stadium-into-the-river-thames-has-caused-a-bit-of-a-row-over-rowing
  29. ^ "Deal struck to provide MBNA Thames Clippers service to £3.2bn London Resort in Swanscombe". GravesendReporter.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  30. ^ "London Resort Company Holdings Team up with MBNA Thames Clippers". SouthParks.co.uk. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  31. ^ "KPMG sponsors new fleet of Thames Clippers". Londonlovesbusiness.com. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  32. ^ Bold, Ben (21 August 2014). "Credit card firm MBNA signs three-year Thames Clippers deal". Campaignlive.co.uk.
  33. ^ Rob (8 July 2020). "London commuter boats to be renamed Uber Boat under a new sponsorship deal!". Headforpoints.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.