Uber is now using boats to beat Mumbai’s terrible traffic

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Uber is offering a new way to beat traffic jams in one of the world's most congested cities -- speedboats.

Uber is offering a new way to beat traffic jams in one of the world’s most congested cities — speedboats.

The ride-hailing company launched its Uber Boat service in India’s financial capital, Mumbai, on Sunday. Uber customers can now book boats between three destinations on the city’s waterfront.

Rides start at 5,700 rupees ($80) for a six or eight-seater boat and go up to 9,500 rupees ($132) for larger vessels that can accommodate 10 riders. The company will only accept bookings for an entire boat, not individual seats.

“Uber’s vision is to create a multi-modal platform to better serve riders and the cities we operate in,” Prabhjeet Singh, the company’s head of cities for India, said in a statement.

“With Uber Boat, we will tap the vast potential of the city’s waterways transport system,” he added.

Mumbai is the first city in India — Uber’s biggest market in Asia — to get the boat service. Uber Boat already operates in Croatia and Turkey, and the company has previously offered the service temporarily in cities like Baltimore, Boston, Cairo, Kiev and for the Cannes film festival in France.

The program in Mumbai launched this week on a pilot basis but will be expanded in the coming weeks, a company spokesperson told CNN.

India’s cities are among the most congested in the world. A report by the Boston Consulting Group last year, commissioned by Uber, estimated that Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata lose more than $22 billion a year because of traffic jams. It takes commuters about 1.5 hours longer to travel a given distance than in comparable Asian cities, according to the report.

The Silicon Valley giant isn’t the first company to try and beat Mumbai’s traffic using alternatives to cars. Blade, a helicopter app for the super-rich, announced in December that it would launch its service in the Indian city this year.

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