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Uber launches a speedboat taxi service for when roads aren’t good enough

Not content with simply transporting riders around cities, Uber has taken its service up a notch with the launch of a new intercontinental boat-based offering.

It’s not as logistically challenging as it might sound, however, as the chosen location of its first and possibly only such service is Istanbul, which lies in both Europe and Asia with the Bosphorus strait running between both.

UberBoat, as the service is called, has been launched in partnership with a local sea transport company. Depending on distance and time, fares will cost anywhere between 50 and 435 lira ($18 to $160), which is significantly more than you’d pay for one of the existing public ferry services. Uber, though, promises convenience, speed, and comfort, and reminds users they can split the cost if they’re with others – each speedboat takes a maximum of between six and eight passengers.

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To use the new service, passengers need to make their way to the water’s edge in the Turkish city, at which point the UberBoat option should show up on the app’s vehicle menu.

If there’s an empty boat nearby, you simply set your pick-up location and request a boat. Next, you’ll get a call from the boat’s captain to confirm that your ride’s on its way.

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In addition to boats and ferries, residents and tourists can use an underground metro tunnel and two intercontinental bridges to cross the Bosphorus, which is around 700 meters wide at its narrowest point, while another bridge and car tunnel are also under construction.

Despite the existing methods for hopping between Europe and Asia, Uber, which has also been operating its more familiar car-based service in Istanbul for the last year, clearly believes it can grab bit of extra business among those looking for something a little different when making their way around this ancient city.