Forget Hailing an Uber—Summon a Speedboat Instead

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From Tokyo to Tulsa, Uber has made it easier for users of its app to traverse the highways and boulevards of a new city or return home safely from a night out on the town. But in Istanbul, pulling up the company’s app no longer limits travelers to options like a luxury sedan or an SUV. With the launch of UberBOAT, the company has expanded its domain from land to sea.

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Located in eastern Turkey on the border of Europe and Asia, Istanbul is divided in two by the Bosphorus strait. When Istanbul Uber users are by the water, they’ll be able to pull up the Uber app and an UberBOAT option will appear. After a captain calls to confirm their ride, users can be on their way, speeding across the water.

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Similar to how the cost of an Uber ride on land is calculated, incorporating the distance traveled on the trip and the length of time it took, UberBOATs will be priced according to sea miles traveled and time. Typical fares for a trip across the strait might range from 50 to 60 Turkish lira (about 17 to 21 American dollars), according to Uber.

Although crossing the Bosphorus in style is perhaps the most obvious potential use of the service, the rides aren’t restricted to the strait alone. Users can request a boat for a faster airport transfer or a getaway to the Princes’ Islands, although these trips are likely to be a little pricier than a jaunt across the strait.

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Of course, the speed boats are roomier than your typical four-door sedan, with space for six to eight people. Just as with Uber’s car service, users will be able to split fares between riders on the app.

Uber partnered with luxury sea transport company Navette to begin offering this service on the first anniversary of its Istanbul launch. Will Uber bring on-demand transport by boat to other cities soon? Although the pool of potential Uber captains is likely to be significantly smaller than the thousands who’ve signed up to drive cars for the service, it’s easy to imagine many customers who’d line up to be escorted to their destination by sea.

Uber

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