Uber Set to Expand its Boat-Taxi Service, UberBOAT, to Lagos. Does it Stand a Chance?


Lagos’ water transport space is about to receive another player. Prominent ride-hailing startup Uber has made known its plans to expand its boat-hailing service, UberBOAT, to Lagos. This is to help its residents beat the constant traffic that plagues them while commuting.

This new development is coming 5 years after Uber first expanded its ride-hailing service to the state. The ride-hailing service is said to be in talks with the Lagos state government and regulatory authorities and is also looking to partner with the Lagos Bus company to provide ride services through its platform

We are having fruitful good discussions with the regulators right now, it is what we are doing this week; we are meeting with partners. We know the traffic is a priority and we think we can help there.

Brooks Entwistle, Chief Business Officer, Uber

Although, the timeline for the launch was not given, it could see Nigeria become the second recipient of this service in Africa, following Egypt where it was launched in 2017, and one of the earliest in the world after Mumbai in India and Croatia.

One of the reasons why the startup chose Lagos as a target for expansion is because of its market potential. Lagos, Africa largest city (by population) with an estimated population of 22 million, is known for its traffic congestion that has commuters spending hours on the road. But with 25% of its landmass consisting of water bodies, commuting by water provides a good transportation option but has been largely untapped.

With its ride-hailing service in the country a huge success, over 260,000 monthly passengers, Uber will be hoping to leverage its knowledge of the city’s mobility market in partnership with the necessary regulators and partners to tap into this huge potential.

Uber is not the only player to have identified the potential in this space. Already, local bike-hailing startup Gokada, has launched its boat-hailing service, GBoat, and has already kickstarted operations.

Also, another mobility player, MAX has made known its plans to enter the water transportation business. Not forgetting the traditional boat owners that have long been the means of commuting on water. This level of participation will saturate the market but this can only be good for commuters.

So gear up Lagosians, things are about to get wet.

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