The General Manager of Uber West Africa, Lola Kassim and the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have addressed the impact the operation of UberBOAT will have after the ride-hailing company makes its entry five months after Gokada’s GBoat began operation.
Nairametrics had reported that Uber diversified its business portfolio in Nigeria on Friday after it launched a water transportation business in partnership with Texas Connection Ferries. The partnership birthed UberBOAT in Lagos at a period the state’s road network is in a deplorable state.
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Despite the expected competition between UberBOAT and GBoat, Kassim said the company was focused on providing commuters with an easy and affordable waterways transportation. UberBOAT currently offers a fixed price of N500 while that of GBoat is decided after booking the trip.
According to Kassim, several man hours and productivity have been lost on the Lagos road due to heavy traffic that each state governor in Lagos has been unable to resolve. The traffic has affected Lagos State financial-wise as companies like NASCON Allied Industries Plc and Honeywell Flourmills have relocated to other cities to avoid the costly traffic.
Dangote Group was also reportedly quoted to have disclosed that it records about N2 billion losses on a monthly basis due to traffic. But while this entry by UberBOAT can’t help lift the cost burden traffic places on companies, Kassim says Lagosians can now journey around the state faster, with less stress.
“We are piloting UberBOAT as a service that is focused on moving people from point A to point B via the Lagos waterways. In this phase, the service will be available between the Five Cowries and Ikorodu Jetties.”
Reducing cars on Lagos road
There have been talks that the number of cars on Lagos road is more than the size of the road. While the government has not been able to reduce the number of cars on the road, Kassim thinks UberBOAT can achieve it.
“We are aware of the man hours and productivity that are lost every day due to vehicular traffic in Lagos and are looking at ways to provide commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts. With UberBOAT, riders can leave their cars at home and instead utilise the waterways as a means of getting around faster and with less stress,” Kassim asserted.
Diversion of motorist
Meanwhile, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who recently declared a state of emergency on lagos road said the state government supported the innovation by UberBOAT because it would assist in reducing the road congestion by diverting Lagosians to the waterways.
“We collaborated with Uber because of the shared vision to utilise the waterways more as a means of decongesting the city. We remain excited at the prospect of scaling this initiative up and taking it further.”
Comrades in arms
Also speaking about the ride-hailing operation on Lagos waterways, Uber’s Country Manager for Nigeria Tayo Oyegunle, said both Uber and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) have the same vision they intend to achieve, and combining their resources will enhance the chances.
“Over the last several years, we’ve built lasting partnerships with public transportation agencies around the world, because we understand how important it is to build on regulatory frameworks that modern cities provide.
“We believe our app can help the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA)’s vision to transform Lagos into a Model city with world class inland waterways infrastructure and services that help expand and improve access to urban mobility.”