Uber is planning to introduce a boat service in the city of Lagos. The global ride-hailing company made its plan known through it’s Chief Business Officer, Brooks Entwistle who was in Lagos this week. Entwistle said the company is in talks with the appropriate authorities regarding the introduction of this new service.
Uber first started operations in Lagos, Nigeria’s mega commercial city in mid-2014. The city with an estimated 22 million inhabitants is famous for its near endless traffic congestion and vast waterways that are rarely utilized. “We are looking at the waterways here, which are very interesting to us as it relates to a potential service,” Entwistle told Reuters.
Lagos will be the fourth city Uber will introduce its boat service known as UberBOAT into. The company first launched UberBOAT in Egypt and Croatia in 2017, and recently in the Indian city of Mumbai. “We did launch UberBoat in Mumbai and we have watched the product develop. It’s in its early stages and we think there is high relevance here,” Entwistle said, referring to Lagos.
The San Francisco-based company is also looking to introduce a mass transit bus service in Lagos and have held discussions with a bus firm and regulators in the city.
In light of these announcements, Uber will be in competition with Nigerian-based bike hailing firm, GoKada, and Egyptian mass transit startup, Swvl. GoKada launched a boat service – GBoat, just two weeks ago. And Cairo-based Swvl recently announced its expansion into Lagos by mid-July.
Entwistle further revealed Uber’s plan to expand into two West African countries, Ivory Coast and Senegal, two of the world’s fastest-growing economies. According to him, Uber has come to recognize West Africa as a big growth priority moving forward and that Abidjan and Dakar, both economic capitals of Ivory Coast and Senegal, are logical opportunities for the company.
Uber is currently on a global drive to develop and introduce other forms of mobility service in spaces and markets where they are needed including a helicopter service, a drone service, and an electric bike service and scooter service called Jump.