In Paris, as early as spring 2019, Parisians and tourists alike will be able to use a new mode of transport that is a futuristic as it is eco-friendly, when flying water taxis designed by French-Swedish company SeaBubbles will run on the Seine. To start with, a regular line will run between three stops, but great things are already planned for the project, namely an additional flotilla of flying water buses.
French-Swedish start-up SeaBubbles will soon offer a new mode of transport in Paris that will allow passengers to fly above the Seine creating no noise or pollution. Until now, this flying taxi project, supported by the City of Paris, was incompatible with the river’s navigation rules. But, following a recent change to the river’s maritime regulations, these small futuristic hydrofoils should make an appearance on the Parisian waterway as soon as next spring, reports the magazine Ville Intelligente.
Eco-friendly, silent and electric-powered shuttles
The “hydroptères”, hydrofoils designed by the company SeaBubbles, are hybrid machines, mid-way between a plane and a boat. These “flying taxis” will be able to transport up to five passengers along the Seine. Silently propelled along by electric energy, these future shuttles are sure to delight Parisians as well as tourists, not to mention Paris City Council: emission-free, these river taxis are a novel solution to the problem of greenhouse gases and pollution in the capital.
The Parisian SeaBubbles project was, until recently, hindered by the river’s navigation regulations, which imposed a maximum speed of between 12 and 18 knots – much slower than the future water taxis. The founders of the French-Swedish start-up found the speed limit to be outdated, and managed to get permission from the regional prefecture to experiment their service on the Seine at a speed of 25 knots (around 25mph), as well as getting official authorisation to navigate on the river.
SeaBubbles are officially authorised to navigate at 25mph
“The speed limit has finally been lifted in Paris,” delighted Alain Thébault, one of the founders of the SeaBubbles. “It’s great news for these boats, which are zero noise, zero wave and zero emissions.” The start-up will be able to set up its flying water taxi service on the Seine next spring. According to Ville Intelligente, a flotilla of 10 to 20 SeaBubbles will first be used on the Seine. Three stops are planned for the moment, “where Paris meets Boulogne-Billancourt, below the Pont de l'Alma or near the Trocadéro, and up to the Gare de Lyon”, the company revealed.
The future water taxis will first be operated by the manufacturer, then by an operator chosen out of Paris City Vision, G7 Green and Uber. SeaBubbles are already envisaging the production of larger shuttles that are more like buses. This idea would delight Valérie Pécresse, president of the region and of Ile-de-France Mobilités, says Alain Thébault.
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