Ride hailing company, Uber is set to disrupt the Lagos public bus transportation business, and ultimately address the challenges of public transportation in the metropolis with over 20 million people.

Already, representatives of the company have toured the newly launched bus terminals in the state, held talks with state officials for possible collaboration, as any plan in this regards would require full approval of the state government.

According to Quartz Africa, the move to disrupt Lagos public bus transportation business is indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

“Given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis, the bus options offer a “huge opportunity. In Lagos, about 80 percent of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses,” said Alon Lits, Uber’s General Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals.

For example, some African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

Article culled from Quartz Africa


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