Prominent bike-hailing startup, Gokada has made known its plans to literally delve into the water with a new water transportation company, GBoat.
The new service which was announced via its Twitter page, aims to help commuters beat traffic in Lagos by utilising the waterways.
According to the social media post, the service is expected to be launched this year which is sooner than the 2020 it was originally scheduled for. However, no timeline was provided for its launch.
This new development is coming barely a month after the startup’s leadership changed hands and secured a new $5.3 million in funding from Rise Capital. The move is barely a surprise though as the 2-year-old startup has always clarified that its future projection is beyond motorcycle.
It had always said its service would eventually involve other means of transportation – which includes bus, ferry boat, and airline.
Now taking a cue from its bike-hailing service, GBoat will most definitely be providing a tech approach to make this means of transportation more efficient. This may include the provision of a mobile app where commuters can book boat rides.
While the new service will be in partnership with the prominent private boat operator, Lagos Boats, not many details have been provided as to how the partnership will play out.
The use of boats as a means of transportation is not new in Lagos. With 25% of its landmass consisting of water bodies, commuting by water has its advantages most especially in tackling the ever hectic transportation situation in the state.
But for various reasons – from the safety of boats to funding and infrastructure, the sector has not been fully developed to reach its potential. Another major reason is that most waterway routes have not been properly mapped out or opened up for better transportation.
Although channelization, lighting, demarcation and dredging are currently being done by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), it still remains to see how much of the vast waterways will be tapped.
With all these issues in the sector and the seeming unlikeliness of customers hailing boats as often as they do cars and bikes, it will be interesting to see how the GBoat service plays out.