Uber is reportedly in talks with Lagos government authorities to launch a boat hailing service in the city, in a move to end the cities traffic congestion problems in addition to its ride hailing service already in the city.
The firm is also said to be looking for bus companies to work with for its its shuttle or bus service in the city. Egypt’s Swvl has already announced plans for Lagos and has been on a hiring spree.
Uber’s Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle in an interview with Bloomberg said: “We know the traffic is a priority and we think we can help there. We are having fruitful good discussions with the regulators right now, it is what we are doing this week, we are meeting with partners.”
Uber’s announcement comes a few weeks after Gokada, a Nigerian firm announced the move citing its plan to decongest Lagos, a city with over 22 million people and one of Africa’s biggest cities. Uber also has Uber Boda, motorcycle hailing services in various markets across Africa. Gokada, a bike hailing services recently raised over $5m to expand its operations in Nigeria and another company, Max.ng also followed suit with a raise to bolster its market share. Uber might still go to Lagos Boats, the company Gokada is working with for its GBoat services.
According to Nazar Yasin, Founder and Managing Partner at Rise Capital, “Gokada’s rapid entry into Lagos’ transport market has been transformative. We have noticed that some markets like Nigeria and Indonesia, which both have large populations and inadequate road infrastructure, are more likely to be dominated by motorcycle-hailing companies rather than traditional car-hailing players, and Gokada’s relentless focus on product, customer service, and safety has enabled them to take advantage of this dynamic and produce some truly impressive growth metrics. They are reshaping the tech-enabled transport market in Lagos, and we are excited to be partnering with them as they scale”.
Gokada will now have to face Uber which is said to be in talks with the Lagos state government and other transport regulatory authorities to launch its Uber Boats in Lagos. Bloomberg reports that the timelines of the launch is not yet made public but would definitely be of help in a city known for traffic congestion and unreliable public transport services and fuel shortages.
Uber, which has 1.3 million active riders and 36,000 drivers in Sub-Saharan Africa first launched its Uber Boat service in Egypt in 2017 for services on River Nile. The service is also available india and Croatia. Uber plans to launch in Senegal and Ivory Coast.