Monday, June 24, 2024

Can Uber’s boat service fix Nigeria’s traffic crisis?

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

On Friday global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc launched a pilot test of a boat service in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.

It was meant to attract commuters seeking to avoid the notorious heavy traffic situation in the populated and congested commercial city.

Called the UberBOAT, the waterway service is operated in partnership with local boat operator Texas Connection Ferries and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA).

Uber said in a statement that “This initiative is aimed at providing commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts.”

For now the pilot phase of the service will operate only on weekdays from 07:00 GMT to 16:00 GMT.

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Services would only be available on a fixed route between two locations in Lagos.

The two week-pilot would take care of four trips a day, carrying up to 35 people on a boat.

Uber said passengers will be charged a flat fare of 500 naira ($1.39) per trip, that is higher than the 300 naira minibuses charge for a similar journey.

But it seems people would be willing to pay for it, if it means getting them around the notorious traffic situation in Lagos.

Congested Lagos city

Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos state, told reporters that Uber boat service, and the use of waterways in general, form part of initiatives to ease congestion on Lagos roads.

Lagos state traffic
Lagos state is highly congested. Photo: The Nation

Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country and Lagos is hugely populated as well with it’s traffic crisis impacting negatively on productivity.

Diverting some of the congestion via boat transport may not resolve the crisis permanently, according to analysts but surely gives hope of getting around it.

It should bring some relief to many across the country.




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