Flying river taxis are ‘go’ for the Seine

SeaBubble river taxi on lake at Geneva
SeaBubble water taxi being tested on Lake Geneva

Mayor wins backing for zero-polluting SeaBubbles to be allowed despite being over the speed limit

Flying SeaBubbles river taxis will, after all, be appearing on the Seine in Paris next year after river authorities gave dispensation for them to be tested.

SeaBubbles need to reach 18kph to rise on to their hydrofoils and skim the water surface at speeds of up to 30kph, which is more than double the 12kph river speed limit. Mayor Anne Hidalgo persuaded the regulatory authorities to think again as the river taxis could be a real bonus for the city.

Electric powered, zero-noise, non-polluting and with no wash, they could become part of the Ile-de-France public transport system so that holders of the Navigo pass could use them with their pass.

Hydrofoil SeaBubble
SeaBubble rises on its hydrofoil to skim river surface

Inventor Alain Thébault has told journalists that he sees no further obstacles to his plans for between five and 10 river taxis to be in use over several months, and perhaps even as early as the summer.

There are also plans for new preliminary tests on the Seine later in December when the company will look at docking and recharging facilities.

Ms Hidalgo has been a strong backer of the plan and, after getting a test ride on the river in June, was dismayed when Mr Thébault said that river regulations had persuaded him to look to Lake Geneva where authorities there were opening pontoons for the Sea Bubbles. First tests there are due in April.

The news of the river authorities’ change of heart came after Mr Thébault outlined his plans to switch to Lake Geneva to The Connexion for our December issue. You can get a copy of the paper at good newsagents now and subscribers can read the article here.




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