Uber Bus, first launched in Cairo, Egypt, is set for a pan-African expansion this year, starting with Lagos, Nigeria in a move expected to revolutionize Africa’s transport sector and bring competition to the private sector players.
The service will also be Uber consolidation move as well as a deliberate attempt at bolstering its revenues amidst investor angst. Uber Bus is a direct competition to Careem Bus, which is MENA’s Uber subsidiary and former competitor.
In Lagos, UberBus will take on SWVL which is eyeing the market, Gona, Opay’s OBus among others. Max and Gokada, two indigenous transport mobility firms will also be part of the competition as well as Little and Bolt.
Both Uber and Bolt have indicated plans to launch their bus hailing services in Kenya, Uganda and Tanazania sometime next year.
Speaking to Quartz Africa at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits said, “I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed. It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”
In Lagos, Uber is expected to partner with Lagos Bus Services, a Lagos state government company launched earlier this year by President Muhammad Buhari under the Lagos Bus Reform Project (LBRP).
Lagos Bus Service will have 800 Buses on 5 routes across Lagos to help end the broken transportation system in Lagos where users depend on the unreliable and unregulated buses. Lagos Bus Service will have electronic ticketing, will have trained drivers and attendants and bring sanity to Lagos roads.
Lagos Bus Services will also use an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to give users real-time bus arrival and departure times and in cases of any delays instead of the current mode of transport that’s highly unpredictable and poorly managed.
Launched in Cairo in December 2018, Uber Bus Lagos will allow users to hail reserve a seat on a clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality bus.
Users in Lagos, Nigeria will be able to request a ride through the app, book a seat on it and then join other passengers traveling in the same direction at an affordable price. Uber Bus makes sure that the passengers are going to the same destination so that it can reduce stops on the way and save time.
UberBus will be the new way to enjoy a comfortable, safe, and convenient commute in Lagos putting a stop to unreliable and crowded buses for an air-conditioned bus without fluctuating fares.
Just like hailing cabs, UberBus allows users you to enter your destination, select the Bus option, review your fare, and then tap request. You will wait to up to 5 minutes to see your trip details. The time allowance is to make sure the app matches you with other riders’ on the most suitable route for you, making sure you don’t go out of your way.
In the trip details, you will see the information about your trip including driver information and pickup spot. UberBus requires that passengers walk to the pickup spot on the map and make sure they arrive before their bus gets there as it only waits for 2 minutes.
The passenger then scans the barcode, show their ticket to the driver, pays for the trip then the bus starts the journey. The passenger walks the last-mile lap after being dropped off by Uber Bus.
According to Eoin O’Mahony, Head of Matching Science at Uber,“Informal bus networks of 15-20 seater vehicles are one of the most popular forms of transportation in developing markets. An estimated 700 million trips a week happen on these informal bus networks, which is 10x bigger than the current global number of weekly trips on Uber. Uber Bus has the potential to unlock a new global business for Uber, serving the $100B, 100 billion annual rides ultra-low-cost transit market for high capacity vehicles.”
Uber says it has no plans to launch Uber Bus in Lagos or SSA in the next coming weeks. We are updating the article to show this position from the company as stated below:
We would like to confirm that there is no plans in the pipeline for this in Lagos in the next few months, nor across the SSA region. Uber has been engaging with the government of Lagos State and regulatory to possibly introduce Uber Boat services in the future.
We kindly request that you amend the article to reflect that Uber is always looking to integrate its service into the transport system of a city however the launch of a bus plan is not in the pipeline.