Blade, an Uber-for-helicopters startup, has a solution to the anticipated traffic congestion in New York City this weekend when the Pope visits the city.
The startup, which raised $6 million at a $25 million valuation this summer from investors including Eric Schmidt, says that on Friday, Sept. 25, it will fly customers between the West Side and East Side of Manhattan during the morning and evening rush hour periods, the company announced in an email to customers Thursday.
This Friday, traffic in New York City is anticipated to be terrible—Pope Francis, President Obama, and 200 United Nations foreign leaders in attendance at the UN General Assembly are simultaneously converging upon New York City. If you're used to driving or taking a cab or an Uber around the city, you may want to reconsider for Friday.
Blade says a trans-Manhattan ride in one of its choppers will cost members $95 a seat and takes between five and eight minutes. You'll depart and arrive from the West Side Heliport on Manhattan's West Side and the East Side Heliport at East 34th Street and FDR Drive. You'll have access to the rides from 7:45 am and 10 a.m. and again between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
You can book a seat using the Blade app. The flights won't be routed across Manhattan; instead, flights get routed around Manhattan's southern tip.
The app has since been downloaded more than 40,000 times. Considering a typical ride costs $575 per seat one way to the Hamptons or Fire Island from New York City, a $95 ride across Manhattan is quite a steal, and it sure beats waiting in the apocalyptic traffic that's been forecasted for Friday.
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