Uber Starts Boat Taxis in Nigeria’s Most Populous City

Uber Technology Inc. launched a pilot phase of its boat business in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, on Friday in conjunction with Texas Connection Ferries, a local boat operator, and the Lagos State Waterways Authority.

Uber’s Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle said in June that the company was in talks with Lagos state government and regulatory authorities to start UberBoats to ease traffic congestion in the city.

Nigeria’s commercial capital has one of the highest car densities in the world, with about 200 cars per kilometer causing traffic congestion. Its vast and underutilized waterways are seen as a viable transportation alternative to relieve pressure on the roads.

Nigeria’s most populous city of about 22 million people plans that 20% to 30% of commuters will travel by water within two years, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state said at the launch.

The boat service, priced at 50% of current fares, is “aimed at providing commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts,” the San Francisco-based firm said in an emailed response to questions. Customers will also get 50% discount on Uber taxis when used for rides to the boat jetty.

UberBoat will only be operational on weekdays from 8am to 5pm for 500 naira ($1.39) per trip, the ride-hailing company said.