The Seine River is a long European river of the Atlantic slope that only runs by France. With a length of almost 776 km it is the third longest in the country, after the Loire and the Rhône (which is longer, but a part runs through Switzerland); nevertheless, it is the most popular and most visited river of France. It drains a basin of 78 650 km², the 3rd in the country and an important one, as well. It has its sources in several springs at 470 meters above sea level in the Langres plateau, in the department of Côte-d’Or, in the Burgundy region and flows into a wide estuary in Le Havre, in the Bay of Sign.
It crosses some important cities of the country, such as Troyes, Melun, Ruan- and especially the capital, Paris, which has developed on its two banks, and in which the tours in the typical bateaux mouches are a tourist attraction. There are thirty-seven Parisian bridges that cross the river, such as the Pont Louis-Philippe and the Pont Neuf, the latter erected as early as 1607. Near the estuary is the Normandy Bridge, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which it is in charge of joining Le Havre with Honfleur.
If the Seine gets to the point of being dredged, then the transatlantic trances can berth in Rouen, 120 kilometers from the sea. Commercial boats can use the river from Bar-sur-Seine, 560 kilometers from its mouth. In Paris, the river is only 24 masl, 445 kilometers from its mouth, generating it to flow slowly and turning it into an easily navigable river. It is 777 kilometers long and flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
The section of the tide-sensitive river, from Le Havre to beyond Ruan, is followed by a section channeled with four large multiple locks to the mouth of the Oise River at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Then two other multiple locks in Bougival / Chatou and in Suresnes raise the boats to the level of the river in Paris, where the mouth of the Marne River is found. Upstream of Paris more locks ensure navigation to Saint Mammès (where the Loing flows). The Yonne River in Montereau is reached through an eighth lock. From the mouth of the Yonne, larger ships can continue up the Seine to Nogent-sur-Seine. From there on, the river is only navigable for small boats. The whole route has just rushed into Marcilly-sur-Seine, where the old canal of the Upper Seine used to allow the boats to continue to Troyes. This channel has been abandoned for many years.
It has been discussed in the last years that the Siene River can be used as an alternative for people to transport from one place to another, in order to minimize the heavy traffic that, as it is well known for both Parisians and citizens, appears in some specific moments and places of the city. And it is not by using boats or ships, on the contrary, it is by using taxis.
Alain Thebault is a Parisian sailor who has a great reputation in the city, and in other French cities as well as in other countries, for his ideas to develop the system in different instances. He thought on the idea of creating an aqua taxi or a water taxi, which is a way of transportation that has a curious design of a combination between the half part of a boat and the half part of a car, and with the main function of providing private services in the Seine River to the people. He introduced his “Bubble” ship as a way of improving the water traffic in the rivers and lakes of France, as a clean and fast taxi service for waterways in big cities. Its design is a combination
Thebault came to the idea of implementing this new way of transportation due to the traffic problems that occur on the streets of Paris, the long lines caused for the heavy traffic, the loss of time for people who wanted to arrive on time to their destinations, and so on. He just thought on: minimizing the traffic on the streets using the Siene River.
The idea was originally distributing aqua taxis on some specific points of Paris and make them work for the people, in order to give a solution to the traffic problems of the city by providing a new way of transportation on the Siene River without producing sounds, waves or contamination.
Aqua taxis were created with the main function of decongesting the traffic on the streets, and they are a way of making easier the movability of the Parisians and the tourists who come from another country to visit the city.
The water taxi is efficient in so many ways because it can save battery while it travels at the surface of the water (until 50 centimeters) at a high speed of 12 kilometers per hour, which gives to the passengers the certainty of arriving on time to their destination while making them feel that they are flying on the water. They have five comfortable seats, which are divided in four for the passengers and one for the pilot, which allows to provide a safe and comfortable trip. They use electric energy while they operate, because its elements are composed by fiberglass and high density foam, with two electrical engines that give power to the boat and work with rechargeable lithium batteries in every of the ports. The aqua taxis have two helixes that are able of creating an impulsion that pushes the hull above. The time of travelling can vary from one point to another, but it was confirmed that the aqua taxis can get from the north to the south, and vice versa, of the city in 15 minutes.
“When I got in there I thought they were going to be like any other boat, but the thing is that they go really fast, seriously! It’s something I hadn’t experienced in my life before, whoa! I can’t wait to see more of those taxis circulating more often on the Siene River, it will be an improvement for the city.” said an American man who was visiting Paris for his vacations and was one of the luckiest people who were chosen to take the first aqua taxis’ trips on the Siene River.
It is expected to use it in Paris for now on, starting on September of this year, and many people are waiting to see them working perfectly, as they should and as they will do; however, in order for the aqua taxis travel at the ideal speed on the water, it was indispensable to rise the previous limit of speed in the Siene River.
In the future is expected that the aqua taxis start providing services in the Loire and the Rhône, as in other rivers, lakes, and even beaches of France. It is expected, as well, to function in other European countries, such as Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, among others.
Paris will take a big step in the ways of transportation with this new creation, it is a great change and an amazing improvement in the problem of the heavy traffic in the city. This represents an excellent way of reducing the long lines of cars on the Parisian streets and it will also provide a new alternative, for tourists especially, to admire the city.
“This is a beautiful way of knowing the city: by travelling through the Siene and just enjoying the incredible Parisian landscapes.” said a Parisian tourist guide who added the topic about the aqua taxis to her talk with her tourists.
This new way of transportation is also receiving good reactions from the green community, because with its electrical system of functioning without producing contamination in the sound, on the water or in the air, it is excellent for the ecosystem of the city. And this is due to the characteristics of its design that allows a safe travel for both the passengers and the environment.
Many people think that in the future this way of transportation can replace the taxis, because ignoring the fact that they are even more expensive than the regular taxis, they can ensure a faster and safer trip; so, it can be matter of time for these aqua taxis to become the next trending of transportation system for both the Parisians and the tourists, and the most desired one. Soon enough people will be choosing as a first option the one that will provide them a comfortable and safe trip without the feeling of stress generated for the noisy and crowded streets of Paris, the option that consists on taking an aqua taxi for getting to their job meetings, family reunions, social events, dates, parties, or simple destinations.
“I can imagine myself now using the Siene River to get to my job every day, in the upcoming days I think it will become in my main way of transportation. Because it is even much better than the roads, highways or streets that, in the hour that I have to go to my office, are always crowded and full of cars, in a few words, a complete chaos! Also, I now get to my office in some few minutes, and I arrive there early; so, for me, that’s an improvement. I support aqua taxis and their development in Paris, I know that they will improve the city in so many levels. And I expect that in the future, the other cities in France start using this way of transportation” said a Parisian woman when she was asked about her opinion on the aqua taxis.
Many people are happy with the aqua taxis, and the good comments appear and appear constantly whilst the aqua taxis continue providing services.
“These aqua taxis are an amazing and a revolutionary implementation on the transportation system in Paris, many people say that they will bring a lot of benefits to our capital, and I believe that, as well. We will see it in the upcoming days, yeah, we will see. And it is that they reduce the traffic on the streets, in a notable way, and they minimize the production of contamination, while ensuring us a save of time every time that we take them. And, in my opinion, another reasons that makes aqua taxis a new and effective alternative of transportation for not just the French community here in Paris, for us the Parisians, but for th tourists and people who come from another country looking for the ‘Parisian dream’, is that provide you safety in the system of transportation, calmness and comfortability. Yes, I know they are expensive and that, but the worth every single coin. And well, of course, they are a really good alternative for controlling the traffic here in Paris.” said a Parisian man when he was asked about his opinion on the aqua taxis and if he thought that aqua taxis would represent a good alternative to the transportation system in Paris.
Thebault did a great thing for Paris by creating this new way of transportation; a way of transportation that will ensure the development and improvement of the traffic in Paris, and in all France in the future. This represents a great step for the evolution of the ways of transportation and an honorable step in the history of France collaborating in the evolution of the human history, in the transportation field,once again. This is something that will give to France a mark in history as the responsible of having created a new way of transportation without creating more traffic in the streets.
A new alternative for the people to get from one place to another, not by ground, not by air, but by water. And it will not just be part of France, it will be expanded in the future, and it will get to other lakes, to other rivers, to other regions, to other cities, to other countries, and will be part of the world.