The days of getting out and hailing a cab or coordinating manually to carpool are far behind us – multiple apps and businesses are working to bring that process to your phone. These include the famed local start-up “Savaree”, Rocket Internet’s Tripda and Easy Taxi, as well as the good old Metrocab.
Savaree is a homegrown carpooling app with a simple motto: “Never Ride Alone”. Users can post routes that they intend to travel on or regularly use in order for others with similar routes to join them. To sign up as a driver/passenger (called “Savaree Captain”) simply by providing your name, email, phone number, CNIC and your route.
The intended target demographic from their video advertisement and website are students and young professionals. It is unclear how the monetary transaction happens – the website does say that the driver can cash out from a physical outlet, but it doesn’t say how passengers are supposed to pay. The app is only available for Android users, has less than 5,000 downloads and not-so-great reviews on Google Play. There are many obstacles in terms of the way things operate in Pakistan (payment platforms, trust etc) that need to be overcome for such a ride-sharing platform to be successful, but the first step towards all of that would be a great app that first-time users are not discouraged by.
Tripda is Rocket Internet’s ride-sharing app/service. There are clear differences between Savaree and Tripda in how the app works. First, you can use your Facebook profile to log in to the app versus the CNIC-plus information that Savaree requires. It is available for both Apple and Android users. Reviews for the Tripda app are not promising either, but it allows users to post and see information like the number of seats available in your car and the cost of the ride. To account for users’ preferences, specially in developing countries, there is an option for a “Ladies only” service where female passengers can search for female drivers and vice versa.
The service started in Pakistan a couple of months ago and launched in over a dozen other countries over 6 months. Like many other Rocket Internet ventures, this scalable model will be dependent on how users adapt to this service.
Easy Taxi is Rocket Internet’s taxi booking app. Touted as a global taxi booking app (available in 30 countries), the app is available to users and taxi drivers in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
The Easy Taxi app’s unique selling point is that you can call a taxi in one click. All you need to do is open the app and click “Call Taxi”. The app uses your location to call the taxi that is closest to you. The app also claims to register taxi drivers with modern cars. This makes for an interesting criteria for the Pakistani market where most of the taxis are small cars from the 80s/90s and taxi drivers are highly unlikely to be smart phone users.
According to the venture leader in Pakistan, Easy Taxi is aiming to change the concept of taxis in Pakistan by focusing on newer and better cars.
Metrocab is a cab service for the niche market of people who are likely to own cars but need a decent ride to/from the airport or bus station. Keeping up with the times, Metrocab has launched an app for smartphone users to get their services without calling them. Unlike the services described above, Metrocab’s business model is not dependent on the success/failure of this app, the service is extremely easy to book via phone and has physical booking outlets in all the major areas.