After months of anticipation, Uber has finally expanded its operation in Nigeria by launching a boat service called UberBoat. This comes after the company obtained the necessary regulatory approvals from the Lagos State Government.
UberBoat, which was launched in partnership with Texas Connection Ferries, will only operate on weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm. The company said it would charge a fixed price of N500 per trip, indicating that the pricing system is different from what currently obtains on its cab-hailing platform where prices per trip are calculated by the distance covered.
Lagos, Your UberBOAT has arrived ! ?
Want to beat traffic or be on time? Sit back and enjoy the cruise!
Book your trip and head out for a ride via https://t.co/37IB9BglD5.
Click on https://t.co/PlQVIYtX2B to read more about UberBOAT.
Welcome aboard!#UberBOAT #UberOn pic.twitter.com/vyyOMn7LSm
— Uber Nigeria (@UberNigeria) October 11, 2019
As part of a marketing strategy, Uber will be giving customers a 50% discount on every Uber ride they take to the boat jetty. Uber is doing everything to ensure that it provides “commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts.”
Taking advantage of Lagos’ waterways
As Nigeria’s most densely populated city, traffic congestion on Lagos roads is a major problem. This problem has caused companies like NASCON Allied Industries Plc and Honeywell Flourmills to relocate to other cities. Dangote Group was also reportedly quoted to have disclosed that it records about N2 billion worth of loses on a monthly basis due to traffic.
Now, the interesting thing is that the city of Lagos is surrounded by waterways that have largely been underutilised until recently. The first major company to do this is Gokada which, in June, started a luxury yacht business in addition to its already existing bike-hailing segment. Now, Uber is seeking to compete in this space with its UberBoat.
Uber began operation in Nigeria five years ago. While it has largely been reluctant to expand into other West African markets, it has continued to prefer Lagos for its expansion drive. The launch of UberBoat will go a long way in positioning the company for future growth. However, it faces some level of competition from Goboat.
The Much Expected Alternative Transit Is Welcome.
While The Morning Departure Is Good, The Evening Departure Time May Require A 30 Minutes Or 1 Hour Adjustment While Factoring The Time It Will Take For Passengers (Workers) To Leave Workplace And Journey To The Jetty.
— BYO Lagos Chapter (@BYOLagos) October 11, 2019