Global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Friday launched a pilot test of a boat service in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos to attract commuters seeking to avoid the megacity’s notoriously congested roads.
The United Nations predicts that Nigeria’s population will more than double to 400 million by 2050, which would make it the third most populous country in the world after China and India.
The combination of population growth and congestion has made Nigeria, and more broadly West Africa, attractive to foreign transport companies.
Uber’s chief business officer told Reuters in June the company planned to launch the service to carry travelers in the Lagos megacity of around 20 million people that is built on a lagoon.
The waterway service, UberBOAT, is operated in partnership with local boat operator Texas Connection Ferries and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), said the ride-hailing firm.
“This initiative is aimed at providing commuters with an easy and affordable way to get in and out of the city’s business districts,” Uber said in a statement.
The pilot phase will operate on weekdays from 0700 GMT to 1600 GMT on a fixed route between two locations in the city.
Passengers will be charged a flat fare of 500 naira ($1.39) per trip, compared with about 300 naira by minibus for a similar journey in the commercial hub of the West African country where most people live on less than $2 a day.
At a press conference on Friday…