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Uber Joins Boat Taxi Market in Lagos



  • Uber Joins Boat Taxi Market in Lagos

Following the launched of Gboat by Gokada and other boat taxi companies looking to enhance revenue through service expansion, Uber, a global ride-hailing company, is perfecting its plans to expand into two West African nations and offer boat service in Lagos.

Uber’s Chief Business Officer, Brooks Entwistle, who was in Lagos disclosed this on Thursday.

He said the company is in talks with Lagos state regulators regarding boat service on it waterways to ease traffic gridlock in the city.

“We are looking at the waterways here, which are very interesting to us as it relates to a potential service,” Entwistle said. “The company has launched a boat service in the Indian city of Mumbai in the last few months.”

“We did launch Uber Boat in Mumbai and we have watched the product develop. It’s in its early stages and we think there is high relevance here,” he said, referring to Lagos.

Entwistle, who described Lagos as “one of the great growth opportunity cities in the world”, said Uber has also held discussions with a bus firm and regulators in the city.

According to him, personal car ownership is low in sub-Saharan Africa despite the growing population. This, he said is further worsened by the lack of efficient mass transport systems in fast-growing cities.

While Uber has 36,000 active drivers in sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of its operations are in East and South Africa. Uber cab-hailing service is largely absent in West Africa, except Nigeria and Ghana, he stated.

However, Entwistle said the company is already in talks with regulators in Ivory Coast and Senegal regarding a possible entrance into the untapped markets.

“Both Abidjan and Dakar are logical opportunities for us,” said Entwistle, adding that discussions were at an early stage. He did not disclose further details.

“We have talked about West Africa today as being a big growth priority for us and launch priority for us moving forward,” said Entwistle.

This is coming a few weeks after Gokada, a motorbike company operating in Lagos, announced the launch of Gboat.

Transport companies operating in Lagos are starting to realise the challenges posed by Lagos traffic to their revenue. Therefore, in an effort to increase revenue generation and expand operations, they are forced to compete in all transport sub-niches.

Earlier this month, Bolt said it is talking to truck drivers in the country, while Uber just announced it had discussions with a bus firm. The battle for the heart of Lagos continues.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.