Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) is in talks with the Lagos state government and regulatory authorities to start Uber Boats services on its waterways, Bloomberg reported today.
Uber's water service division, which started operating in Mumbai this past winter, points to broader interest in using the world's waterways as a means to alleviate congestion on crowded roadways.
Lagos, population 22 million, is known for mind-numbing traffic that leaves commuters stuck for hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Public transit is virtually non-existent.
A 2018 report by the Boston Consulting Group, commissioned by Uber, estimated that Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata lose more than $22 billion yearly because of traffic jams.
Uber's Mumbai boat service is not available to individual riders. Instead, users must reserve – via app, of course – full boats, at $80 for a 6- to 8-seater speedboat and $132 for a 10-person Uber Boat XL.
Uber did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the company's plans to expand water taxi service in the United States. A pop-up service in Miami is no longer available.
But as the ride-hailing-giant's global service moves full steam ahead, public commuter ferry services are expanding in the United States.
Seattle, San Francisco and other West Coast cities have dramatically expanded water taxi service over the past few years.
In addition to the Lagos water service negotiation, Uber is also in talks with regulators in Ivory Coast and Senegal regarding the possible launch of ride-hailing services in those West African countries, Bloomberg reported.
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