'Amazing': People flock to experience scUber at Heron
A NIMBLE submarine ride through the Great Barrier Reef has been hailed a success, with $1500 tickets selling in less than five minutes.
Launched for a two-week-only period, scUber was a partnership between Tourism and Events Queensland and rideshare company Uber to showcase the reef through a new experience.
Only 40 scUber tickets were available to the public for underwater rides at two locations - Heron Island (departing from Gladstone) and Port Douglas.
Heron Island trips ended on June 3 with 16 tickets sold, most to customers from the local region.
Uber spokeswoman Amber Morris said the demand for seats on the two-passenger sub was greater than had been anticipated.
"We thought it might have been a slower uptake but the bookings were amazing," said Ms Morris.
Tickets had to be purchased on the morning of each ride through the Uber App and Ms Morris said scoring a seat sometimes took a few attempts.
"An American couple from Arizona saw it on the news and drove up to Gladstone from Byron Bay to get a ticket," said Ms Morris.
"They tried for two days before they were successful."
Ms Morris said all tickets sold out within five minutes of opening in the morning. The $1500 price tag per person included an Uber ride from a pick-up address, a return helicopter trip to Heron Island and a one-hour dive in the submarine.
Among the successful customers was Peter Gash, the managing director of Lady Elliott Island Eco Resort and a reef advocate, who flew to Gladstone with his wife.
Mr Gash said he wanted to support efforts to protect and promote the Great Barrier Reef.
"I think it's a fascinating concept and I thought how fantastic it would be to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience with my wife of 35 years, Julie," said Mr Gash.
"It's not cheap, but when I found out that the money I spent was going to the Citizens of The Great Barrier Reef, and being matched by Uber, I was happy to donate to this fantastic cause, the protection and preservation of the Great Barrier Reef.
"We were fortunate enough to have our ScUber ride at night, therefore in fact, we were the world's first night time underwater rideshare customers."
All money from ticket sales was donated to Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.
The scUber experience was promoted as the world's first rideshare submarine. The vessel could travel 30m deep and offered 180° views to passengers strapped securely in their seats.
The experience was marketed across Australia as well as targeting tourists from New Zealand, the UK, USA, Canada and France.
A spokesperson for Tourism and Events Queensland said it was hoped a private operator would see the potential of continuing the idea as a Queensland experience.