After offering its services on land and in the air, Uber is now set to conquer the seas. The San-Francisco based ride-hailing unicorn on Wednesday launched UberBOAT services in Mumbai, in partnership with the Maharashtra Maritime Board.
Working like an on-demand service, UberBOAT will now provide speedboat transport in routes such as Mandwa Jetty, the Gateway of India and Elephanta Islands in Mumbai. Reports suggest that the services will launch from February first.
The riders will now get to access two types of UberBOAT based on the seating capacity - a six to eight seater UberBOAT for Rs 5,700, and a 10 seater UberBOAT XL for Rs 9,500. The riders can now avail a boat ride on the Uber app.
Commenting on the launch of UberBOAT, Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia said in a press statement,
“We are excited to launch UberBOAT in Mumbai, in partnership with the Maharashtra Maritime Board. With UberBOAT, we will tap the vast potential of the city’s waterways transport system. We aim to provide efficient and easily accessible services to riders who are looking at navigating through these specific routes. With this service, boat operators will be able to gain access to Uber’s highly-engaged rider base and enhance their earning opportunity.”
The launch is in line with Uber's plans for India this year. Uber, valued at $72 billion, is one of the highest-valued unicorns in the startup world today. This is the ride-hailing unicorn's fifth year of operations in the country. Uber India's revenue in the previous year stood at Rs 410 crore. Its revenue for FY 2017-18 is reported to be Rs 533 crore.
Speaking of the launch, Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of the Bombay Port Trust, said in a press statement, ”Our vision is to make Mumbai as the sea transport and tourism hub of the country in collaboration with Maharashtra Maritime Board. As we continue to re-imagine the waterways of Mumbai through a host of ambitious projects and partnerships, we believe UberBOAT will play a pivotal role in improving connectivity and will work closely with Uber to make this pilot a success.”
Last year, the company also filed for an IPO, which has become one of the most watched-out-for IPOs in the startup ecosystem across the world. In July last year, the company revealed that it had completed one billion trips in India and South Asia. Uber introduced its services in India in 2013 by launching operations in Bengaluru. Coincidentally, Bengaluru was where its one billionth trip took place.
Last year, Uber also announced India to be one of the five countries where it would launch its ambitious Uber Air project. The ride-hailing company has, in fact, built several products out of India. The company has two development centres in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, and plans to make significant investments in the country this year. It intends to strengthen its India operations by hiring an additional 500 engineers.
Speaking of UberBOAT, Vikram Kumar, CEO, Maharashtra Maritime Board, said in a press statement: "We are confident that this will further bolster the city’s waterway transport facilities by providing locals/Mumbaikars as well as tourists a reliable and convenient option to travel between Gateway of India, Mandwa and Elephanta. Additionally, the Maharashtra Maritime Board will further strive and work with Uber to create new possibilities and augment business for local boat operators.”