By Theodore Opara

His Excellency, The Executive Governor of Lagos; Babajide Sanwo Olu was the special guest of honor and “rider zero,” as Uber announced its pilot of UberBOAT in Lagos. The event which took place at the Lagos State Waterways Authority complex at the Five Cowries Jetty Falomo, also had Governor Sanwo Olu take a ride on the newly unveiled UberBOAT.

Speaking during a media parley, the Governor said “The last couple of years have seen the Lagos State Government commit to building up infrastructure that supports multi-modal transportation, which includes water transport. We collaborated with Uber on this because of the shared vision to utilize the waterways more as a means of decongesting the city. We remain excited at the prospect of scaling this initiative up and taking it further.”

“Lagos State Government has embarked on a transformation agenda that has traffic management and mobility as key focus areas” said Dr, Frederic Oladeinde; Commissioner for Transport in Lagos State. UberBOAT 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” he concluded.

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“We are piloting UberBOAT as a service that is focused on moving people from point A to point B via the Lagos waterways” said Lola Kassim; General Manager West Africa, Uber. Speaking further she said: “In this phase, the service will be available between the Five Cowries and Ikorodu Jetties. We are aware of the man hours and productivity that are lost every day due to vehicular traffic in Lagos State and 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 utilize the waterways as a means of getting around faster and with less stress.”

On his part, Damilola Emmanuel; Managing Director Lagos State Waterways Authority 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. Because UberBOAT utilizes technology, then it 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 between Uber and LASWA, Tayo Oyegunle, Uber Country Manager for Nigeria said: “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. LASWA’s vision is to transform Lagos into a Model city with world class inland waterways infrastructure and services that help expand and improve access to urban mobility. We believe our app can help ensure this vision is brought to more people of Lagos State.”

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. For the former, riders can click on 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 which is used to secure the riders spot on the boat.

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