inDrive isn’t the same anymore, and it’s bad…

InDrive Issues
Honor X9b Ad
Honor X9b Ad

inDrive recently entered the Nepali market officially and brought in some changes along with it. But it hasn’t worked out well so far — in fact — it has affected the company adversely. Let’s discuss more about the issues with inDrive in this article, along with our opinion on what the company should do next.

inDrive Issues Overview

A bit about inDrive

inDrive is the second-largest ride-sharing app in the world in terms of download volume. It was founded back in 2012 by a group of Russian students. Formerly, it was known as “inDriver”, standing for independent driver. It was merely a social media group before it took its modern-day form.

At this time, inDrive is absolutely huge with their services operating in 47 countries across 700+ cities. Nepal also falls within the given number, with their services starting around mid-2022.

inDrive in Nepal

When the company arrived in Nepal, the landscape of ride-sharing was a bit different. The sector was in a grey zone of legality while still being operational. Furthermore, the service was almost monopolised by the Bangladeshi brand — Pathao. It was a fully registered company that charged up to 20% commission from its riders and provided insurance to them too.

It was going to be tough for inDrive to loosen the stronghold of Pathao. For this, it took rather drastic measures. Firstly, it did not charge any commission from its riders. Hence, riders could accept as many rides as they wanted and keep all the amount they earned by themselves. This made inDrive a more attractive platform than Pathao, where they had to give away nearly one-fifth of their entire income.

inDrive Banner

Not only was it attractive for riders, but it was an attractive platform for users as well. The fare on inDrive was comparatively cheaper than Pathao. The difference could be as much as 15% less for the same route. On top of that, it allowed users to bargain and choose a rider as per their liking all while having a massive pool of riders.

A combination of these factors made it an unstoppable force, rapidly rising in popularity. But it was only a matter of time before issues with inDrive started surfacing.

Issues

While inDrive was gaining momentum as the cheaper ride-sharing platform, it was also making waves as the unsafe one. For starters, to aggressively compete in the market while keeping the operational costs low, the company was not legally registered in Nepal. Given that, it did not even have a physical office. So, if an issue arose, people simply did not know where to fall back. Therefore, the riders on the platform were simply unregulated.

This also led to cases of scamming, verbal abuse, misbehaviour, and stalking — even. There was a series of social media posts of people, especially women, sharing their bitter experiences on inDrive. In addition to all that, the company does not offer insurance either to its riders or customers. Hence, if you ever happen to get into an accident then you are on your own.

Now it’s registered

While the prevailing issues were there, the Nepal government decided to divert their focus on ride-sharing as well. The government recognised ride-sharing as a service-oriented industry and set forth criteria for its operation. The most important one is the provision of insurance to the customers. Now, inDrive was neither registered nor did it provide insurance. This led to the company and its riders into hot water. The Kathmandu Valley Traffic Police started penalising inDrive riders a fine of NPR 2,000.

inDrive official launch event in Nepal

As a result, a lot of riders quit or switched to other platforms to save themselves from unnecessary fines. In response, inDrive registered itself to control the situation. Meanwhile, the company also assured that it was working to provide insurance services. However, we are yet to see any development in that matter.

BUT… issues remain

All this has led to inDrive losing its ace. As soon as it became an official company, it started charging a 10% commission to its riders. In the meantime, it is also working on regulating its platform. Sources say it has temporarily banned a lot of its riders for varying reasons. On top of all that, inDrive also charged a commission on cancelled rides as well.

Because of all these reasons, inDrive riders were distraught and have consistently left the platform. This has directly impacted the overall app experience since it has become very difficult for the users to find a rider. In the meantime, the fare has also increased compared to the past.

Looking at all this, it does not look very good for the company. And they need to do something about it very fast.

What can be done?

inDrive was a free platform for the riders for nearly two years. Thus, it was only a matter of time before it changed its strategy and started charging commissions. However, suddenly doing so was not the way to go. The company should have taken a minimal cut of preferably 5% at first. The fact that it started charging 10% without even introducing insurance did not sit right with many riders. Hence, inDrive needs to first address this issue.

They can either adjust their commission or introduce insurance as soon as possible. Another major issue is once again with the commission. The fact that riders have to pay the commission even in case of cancellation is straight-up unfair. Therefore, they need to revisit their policy in this regard. If it refunds the commissions and all this is because of a technical issue then it needs to quickly sort this issue.

Besides that, the company could also introduce insurance as an optional feature. Here, the customer or rider has the say if they want their insured rides or not. If they do they’ll have to pay an extra rupee or two like in other platforms. Meanwhile, if they don’t then they can get cheaper rides or get a more cut from it.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that inDrive is taking a serious hit in rider availability and the overall experience. The company needs to sort all this out by striking a sweet spot between taking a rider-centric and consumer-centric stance. This will allow it to retain its consumer as well as rider base and remain the same ride-sharing platform we all know and love. We hope inDrive works on its issues and solves them as soon as possible.

  • Meanwhile, read our article on the best ride-sharing apps in Nepal as well.