To ameliorate this problem, Gokada has partnered with Lagos Boats to launch GBoat – a ferry transport service in one of Nigeria's lucrative natural resources, Lagos waterways.
When I checked the GBoat website on Wednesday night, boats were scheduled to run via Lekki Pavilion Jetty through Admiralty waterways in Lekki to Victoria Island - Paradise Jetty on the Walter Carrington Crescent close to Onikan, Lagos Island.
The other service will run via Ikoyi five Cowries Creek Terminal through Falomo Roundabout, Ikoyi to VI and Lekki.
On Thursday I took a GBoat ride from Pavilion Jetty in Lekki to Paradise Jetty at Walter Carrington on the Island and, as expected, the experience was totally different from my usual road travel. This is the kind of experience that comes with fresh air not mixed with pollution (a silent environmental killer) and is totally unaffected my Lagos’ traffic congestion.
The innocent looking Pavilion Jetty
On Thursday morning, I arrived at the Pavilion Jetty off Admiralty Way at exactly 7 AM and almost missed the GBoat ride. Earlier, I had booked tickets via their online platform.
The boat took off about 7:03 AM going through the Tarzan Jetty behind Oriental Hotel down to Ikoyi Five Cowries Creek Terminal at Falomo before arriving at its final destination -- Paradise Jetty on the Walter Carrington Crescent at 7:12 AM. Without traffic congestion, it is a 17 mins/ 6.1km route by car on the Ozumba road.
Clean boat, cool views and comfortability at class
During the trip, I assessed the boat and noticed they were neat and well-kept, the seats are comfortable for commuters. However, I think it’ll help steady some nerves if there’s cool music on board.
“The agreement between to form GBoat is a win-win. Gokada provides the customer base while we work on the logistics,” Gossy Ukanwoke, founder of Lagos Boats tells me during the trip.
“We are just launching and as demand increases, we will launch new routes - extending to other areas such as Ikorodu, Ijede, Lagos Island and Apapa.”
Gossy says the company is hoping to move tens of thousands of workers and professionals every morning.
The Gokada - Lagos Boats deal that could be the future of transportation in Lagos
While Gokada is counting on its massive customer base and its tech platform, Lagos Boats will provide logistics and controls the ride activities.
This service will allow customers to take a bike from their home, get on the board and take another bike at the jetty to their offices without stress.
A few things worth pointing out
- Gokada and Lagos Boats need to onboard the boat service unto an app.
- There are difficulties in making payment via the web portal and Gokada needs to pay attention to this.
- There were no signposts at both boat stops - Pavilion Jetty and Paradise Jetty -- so it’s difficult to identify GBoat officials from other private jetty operators.
- The boat was clean and the ride was smooth – commendable.
- Gokada and Lagos Boats can introduce onsite sales of tickets for commuters, bringing the semi-illiterate and illiterate populace on board.