Plans for more Uber boats at Barking Riverside

More Uber boats could be coming to east London during the week in a bid to improve services for residents and attract more visitors into the area.

Barking Riverside Limited (BRL), the developer behind Barking Riverside, wants Uber Boats by Thames Clipper (UBTC) to introduce an all-day, hourly service during the week as they say work patterns have changed since the pandemic and a peak-only service doesn’t always suit people’s schedules.

UBTC has operated a peak weekday service (6.30am-11am and from 5.15pm-11.45pm) and an all-day weekend service (8.10am-midnight) at Barking Riverside since April 2022. BRL has since been told by UBTC that an all-day service during the week would only be possible over the next few years if it can get funding, with UBTC asking for just over £1million to increase the weekday service.

As BRL can’t afford to fund the weekday service on its own, it asked Barking and Dagenham Council for £450,000 from its Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy (SCIL), a pot of money which is spent on infrastructure in the borough such as schools and roads.

The £450,000 would be spread across three years and if the council’s cabinet members approve the plans next week, BRL will still be required to secure the remaining funding from other parties such as the Greater London Authority (GLA) and private sector partners and other local authorities that would benefit from the increased services.

UBTC is currently in the process of obtaining three new boats, which were originally planned to service parts of West London however if BRL can get the funding the boats will be handed over to Barking Riverside to provide hourly services during the week.

Council officers said in a report that increased services would help support local schools in places such as Woolwich and Greenwich and that local businesses such as street traders around the pier will benefit from an increased footfall.

They also said it will provide an improved experience for visitors coming to Barking and residents and businesses of the borough will benefit from a ‘better connected centre’. The plans, which have been recommended for approval, will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, March 19.

Ruby Gregory

Local Democracy Reporter