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Uber launches a boat service in Lagos, the sub-Saharan Africa biggest city

Despite the abundance of waterways in Lagos, ferries are not as popular as road transport to get around the city. There are a few regular ferry routes between Lagos and Victoria islands and the mainland. Private boats also operate some passenger services on the lagoon and on some creeks.

Uber has transformed many a transportation scenario, but they still haven’t quite solved the annoyance of the taxi line leaving the airport. The experience of standing on the curb in some new climate, elbowing around other travelers to hail a car (or spot a car you’ve ordered) remains an unpleasant and unwelcome start or end to a trip.

In recent time, the state government has been working to promote water transport in Lagos and ease road congestion by building a number of jetties. Uber Technology Inc. launched a pilot phase of its boat business in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on Friday in conjunction with Texas Connection Ferries, a local boat operator, and the Lagos State Waterways Authority.

The growing population and rapid development of Lagos have placed strain on the city’s public transport system, and traffic congestion and pollution add to the chaos of this massive city.

The most common forms of public transport in Lagos include taxis, buses and motorbike taxis, known locally as okadas. All of these forms of transport are generally unsafe and unreliable due to poorly maintained vehicles and reckless drivers. Most expats don’t use public transport in Lagos, rather opting to have their own car, often with a personal driver.

Uber’s Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle said in June that the company was in talks with Lagos state government and regulatory authorities to start UberBoats to ease traffic congestion in the city.

The ride-hailing service organisation is in discussions with the Lagos state government and regulatory authorities to begin Uber boat services on its waterways, Uber’s Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle stated on Thursday in a conference.

“We are having fruitful good discussions with the regulators right now, it is what we are doing this week, we are meeting with partners.”

The executive did not give a timeline on when the service will begin

Just as with a car, Uber customers can use their mobile app to drop a pin and find a boat nearby. As experienced with Uber Pool, the company’s algorithm will send them to the nearest convenient location (in this case, the best pier) to meet their driver (or rather, a captain).

Uber, which faces competition from Estonian-ride hailing firm Bolt,

said it would seek partnership with local players for the service.

Our strategy is in every country we going into we want to find local partners to help us with our business,” Entwistle said.

UberBOAT, is  believe to be a service for tourists and residents alike among a few islands in Croatia, with particular focus on getting to and from the airport in Split.

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