UberBOAT Sets Sail in Time for Art Basel 2015

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Driving during Art Basel is the worst thing. The roads are clogged with outsiders who don’t understand Miami’s rules of the road (there aren’t any, duh), and the congestion is exacerbated by the ceaseless road construction along major connectors like I-95, the Palmetto Expressway, and the Venetian Causeway. So as the 14th edition of Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off this week, Uber — of all companies — has swooped in with an alternative transportation option. 

Beginning today, UberBOAT will be the fifth bubble option all the way to the right when you launch the Uber app on your phone. Don’t let the cuteness of the little anchor icon fool you, though. UberBOAT doesn’t just set you up on an inflatable dingy to drift haplessly across Biscayne Bay. Uber teamed up with Stella Artois and the charter company Water Taxi Miami to set you up on a luxury yacht, baby.

According to Kasra Moshkani, general manager for Uber South Florida, the ride-share company began brainstorming innovative transportation solutions months before Basel. But when staffers realized the Venetian Causeway would still be closed by the time Miami Art Week hit, they really ramped up their efforts to make UberBOAT a reality.

“The Venetian is the most direct route between shows in Wynwood and on the Beach, and when you look at the route that UberBOAT takes across the bay, we’ve designed it to be one of the best options to get people to where they need to go,” Moshkani says.

For just $35 for a group of six people, which Moshkani estimates is the cost of an UberXL ride from Miami Beach to Wynwood or the Design District, fairgoers can forgo roads to get to the other side. Once an Uber user is south of 46th Street on either side of Biscayne Bay, the rider can request an UberBOAT for transport to the equivalent region on the other coast. On the mainland, the UberBOAT zone reaches to PortMiami, and on the Beach side, it stretches all the way to South Pointe Park. Once summoned, a specially marked car will arrive, chauffeuring users to the UberBOAT dock on either side. Plus, Stella samples and swag bags will be available for passengers older than 21 at the Wynwood dock.

With a fleet of yachts, UberBOAT will sail Thursday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Though the notion of continuing UberBOAT may seem enticing to users, Moshkani notes that Uber does not have any plans to extend the service after Basel. "One of our core values at Uber is about celebrating cities and, whenever we can, bringing our technology to help solve problems that are very local," he says, "That’s why we are so proud of this project: We took the problem of congestion and traffic during Basel and used our platform to come up with a solution that is 100 percent Miami.”

Because really, Moshkani asks, “What more Miami way is there to arrive at Basel than in a beautiful boat with your friends enjoying the skyline?”

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