Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday at the Lagos State Waterways Authority complex’s Five Cowries Jetty in Falomo, kicked off UberBOAT – the pilot phase of Uber’s boat service in Nigeria.
The governor, who was the special guest of honour at the event, also became the “rider zero,” by taking a ride on the new UberBOAT moments after unveiling it.
Speaking during a media parley, he said his government was committed to building infrastructure that supports multi-modal transportation, which includes water transport.
Sanwo-Olu explained that the government collaborated with Uber on the new UberBOAT project because of the shared vision to utilise the waterways more as a means of decongesting the city.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said the state government had embarked on a transformation agenda that has traffic management and mobility as key focus areas.
UberBOAT, according to him, presents a unique opportunity to help improve mobility in the state by ramping up on water transportation as a means of getting people from point A to B.
Giving more insight into the project, the general manager, West Africa, Uber, Lola Kassim, explained that in the pilot phase UberBOAT would be available between the Five Cowries and Ikorodu jetties. She stated that one of the reasons for the launch was to address the problem of losing man-hours every day to vehicular traffic in Lagos, which affects productivity.
Kassin said, “We 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.”
On his part, managing director, Lagos State Waterways Authority, Damilola Emmanuel, said: “At LASWA, our mission is to develop the waterways in Lagos State as a means of giving the people of this great city more efficient options to get around. The fact that UberBOAT utilises technology means that the efficiency we seek is achieved, and we are able to bring the service to even more people within the city.”
Speaking on the collaboration, Uber country manager for Nigeria, Tayo Oyegunle, noted that: “Uber first launched in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2014 with the Lagos State Government being a key stakeholder. 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.”
There are two ways to book a trip on UberBOAT: The pre-booking, which is 24 hours before, or on the day of the trip. The riders can visit Uber website to reserve a seat on the boat, and will thereafter receive a confirmation that secures their spot.
The second option is to arrive at the jetty on the day of the trip 30 minutes before cruise time, open the Uber App, select UberBOAT and input either the pick up or drop off points. A PIN will then be generated that is used to secure the rider’s spot on the boat.