Uber In Talks To Bring Public Bus Transportation To Lagos

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
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Uber Bus launched in Cairo in December 2018. Uber is in talks with officials in Lagos to develop a public bus transit system. Image: Uber

Global ride-hailing firm Uber is considering getting involved in a public bus transit system operating in one of Africa’s largest cities, Lagos.

The Silicon Valley-based firm is already in talks with city transport officials in the Nigerian financial hub, though it is not yet clear how exactly Uber will approach the opportunity, according to TechPoint Africa.

Uber Bus, a minibus version of the ride-hailing company’s service, is operational in Cairo and works in a similar way to requesting a car. The firm’s mobile app lets users reserve their seats on a fleet of air-conditioned Uber-owned buses which frequently run along popular routes, according to Uber’s website.

By selecting the bus option, the closest route is reserved for the user and walking directions are presented to help the user reach the bus pickup point. They then pay by cash or within the app when they enter the bus.

Built on a massive lagoon, the city of Lagos has a population of 22 million people. City streets are notoriously congested with traffic.

Already larger in population than New York City and London, Lagos is expected to reach a population of 100 million people by 2100, 702 reports.

Uber public bus transit

Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits, confirmed that the company is in talks with Lagos officials about a public bus transit system, Quartz reports.

Uber launched a minibus service called Uber Bus in Cairo in December 2018. The company could use that operation as a template for what it expects to do in Lagos as similarities exist between the two cities.

The Egyptian capital has a population of 23 million people and an overburdened public transport system, similar to Lagos. Cairo is the first city in the world to launch Uber Bus.

Uber may also be reacting to plans from Egyptian ride-hailing minibus firm Swvl, which announced in June that it is launching operations in Lagos.

Swvl already runs minibus services in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt, and in Nairobi, Kenya, according to Moneyweb.

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Uber has been operating its ride-hailing service in Lagos since July 2014 and the company has also been in talks with authorities about a boat-riding service called Uber Boat that could operate in the city.