Traveling in a public vehicle is often troublesome. Starting from the front door, one has to fight against the molecule-tight congestion. Furthermore, the surplus threats like harassment and pickpocketing come underway. To evade such problems, hailing a taxi or a cab seems to be a wonderful alternative. However, their pricey fairs have been rather discouraging. As an optimum solution to such problems, some startups have been made, whose primary motto has been to provide reliable commuting services at an affordable price. Though serving the same purpose, their services, user-friendliness, app reliability and apps’ user interface are the factors what makes them unique amongst the others.
If you are familiar with the Uber and Ola services, it would be easier to present the following apps/services as the Uber and Ola of Nepal.
Also Read: Top Digital Wallets in Nepal
It is easy to get started with their services. In order to get benefitted with the services, one needs to download the app first and register. And to use the services, the users need to provide pickup and destination location in the app requesting a ride. If placed well, the drivers can see the request. And the one in the proximity of customer’s end or whoever is free responds to the request. If the request gets successful, the users can get the ride at the expense of the designated fare. Fair and simple!
For their ingenious thoughts to provide dependable facilities, they have received galore of appreciation from valley populace. Here we will discuss such ride-hailing services in Nepal, which are applauded for their praiseworthy efforts to ease the transportation.
Developed by Mobile Application Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Eddy cab claims to be the first one in the business. However, their system is not so pleasing. Interested ones are often disheartened just because they do not get the verification code to complete their registration. But once the registration is complete, it is easy to get along with the services.
After the selection of destination on the app, all the available cabs on proximity are displayed along with their distance and rating gave by the customers as per their service quality. These factors prove to be a worthy factor while choosing a driver for the ride. Once the list of available drivers is displayed, the interested ones should select one among them within the designated time. This feature is quite good for the drivers, who are always in hurry to pick another passenger. The Eddy Cab accepts only cash payment. The Eddy Cab fare also demands an extra Rs. 16.95 as a service charge of which Rs. 15 goes to the company and the remaining Rs. 1.95 is 13% VAT amount to the levied charge.
Blending transportation and technology together, Kawa started its services. The startup begun with two hundred cabs with the plans to extend the number to 1200 in a year. To make the services easily accessible to the users, the cabs make themselves available in the places demanding high traffic and the tourist destination within the Kathmandu Valley. And most important of all, the fares are priced based on the distance traveled and recorded on meters. And rates for the services go along with the fair set by Department of Transportation Management. With the rates accessed by the government, customers don’t have to spend a fortune for a ride.
With the registration completed, the app starts with the map displaying all the available cabs in the proximity along with the name of the driver and the cab number. If no cabs are available nearby, the app asks for a new search with an extended periphery. However, with the range extended, a little additional charge will be added to the fare. The extra fair is for the driver considering his extra efforts to approach and pick the commuter.
Furthermore, the commuter should be punctual for the cab. If the wannabe passenger arrives late for the ride, extra amount would levy on the bill for driver’s waiting time. And such fine for arriving late upsurges 50% more for the night time of 9 PM to 6 AM. Irrespective of the amount of fare for the ride, users can see it on the app at the end of the travel. Despite the widespread services of digital wallets in Nepal, the drivers accept the cab fare only in cash.
The app hails searching for a cab in the map in the start and demands picking up a destination. Since the app solely desires safe, reliable and secure commute for its users, there are no confusing or gimmicky features added to it. So it is really easy to use with the clean and user-friendly user interface. According to the Kawa Rides team, they are also planning to put the feature to share the ride details to the close ones in the next update. Also to make the commute even more secure, they are in talks with the Nepal Police.
There are two apps of the Kawa Rides: one for the passengers and another one for the drivers and both of them are available on the Android Play Store. However, even after the several months of starting of its services, their iOS counterparts are yet unavailable on the App Store, which is a real bummer.
Onver Smart Taxi
Onver is another taxi-hailing app, which started their services from the October 2016. With over two hundred cabs at services, Onver Smart Taxi is providing 24 hours of online services with an operating call center from 7 AM to 9 PM.
Onver Smart Taxi includes features like taxi tracking, route management, time, distance and cost estimation. On choosing the destination on the app, the app displays the shortest route to complete the journey. As the Onver taxis work on meter-based fare system as per the Department of Transportation Management, the suggestion of the shortest route to the journey makes the already affordable fare even cheaper. In addition, the pre-estimation of time and cost of selecting the destination makes the commuter easier to plan the job ahead.
The app uses Smart Technologies likes GPS, Maps, GCM, etc. to dedicate themselves to providing hassle-free and affordable transportation facility. The app is currently available on Google Play Store. And the company has plans to launch the app for iOS and Windows platform too. Two Android apps are available in the Play Store. The app also has a counterpart for the drivers, which is available in the app stores as Onver Partner. The plan also includes extending the Onver services by bringing a large number of cab riders in their network.
It has been quite some time, the Sarathi Cab website promised to release the Sarathi app in the app stores. However, the ride hailing service provider is still serving solely through the website.
The services of the Sarathi Cabs is nothing different from the others. One can make the request for a ride and an available driver approaches the interested ones for the transportation. The fare for the commute is also same in the Sarathi cab. It goes along the rates declared by the government body. However, requesting a ride in Sarathi Cab is different than the rest. One should call the Sarathi call center and place a request for a ride conveying the place to pick them and the desired destination.
Unlike the aforementioned names, Tootle is the ride-hailing app, which lets the users summon a two-wheelers driver to transport the passenger. And since motorcycle/scooter is the designated vehicle for the transportation, the fair for the commute is usually lower than the four-wheeled taxis.
To get along with its services, one needs to log in to Tootle app and select the destination. While confirming the destination, along with the travel cost, there is a mode to select the time of departure. With the booking made, the Tootle Partner contacts you at his earliest convenience. And with the establishment of the agreement, the person picks you up from your location and drops you off at your destination. The modes of payment for the travel could be cash or Tootle balance. The Tootle balance can be topped up using eSewa, SCT MoCo, Tootle Voucher or IME Payment.
There is also the Tootle Partner app for peoples, who owns a two-wheeler and seeks to make an income with a feeling to help on another side. However, being a Tootle Partner is not an instantaneous process. One need to make registration by filling up some personal details and upload a photo of the Driving License. The verification process takes around 24 hours.
Despite the number of roads and myriads of vehicles, traveling through public transportation has not yet been easy in Nepal. And the initiative of Tootle to ease such complications is definitely praise-worthy. However, the service is currently available only to Kathmandu valley in the time frame of 8am to 8pm. So beyond this time and place, users are helpless. Furthermore, going on a ride with a stranger is also a hard decision one has to make while using Tootle.
One has to be cautious to cope with the threats if things go wrong. There is no predefined speed limit for the Tootle ride. So there will be an additional risk if the rider turned out to be reckless. Furthermore, the service is not always reliable. There are chances that the drivers could simply ignore your request.
All the apps mentioned work on GPS – Global Positioning System. And tracking the routes and finding the drivers/passengers have been easier. With a view to bringing transportation and technology together, these startups have done a commendable contribution in digitizing the nation.
Also, the use of licensed, well-trained and well-experienced drivers on the service has shown their concern on the alarming issues like passengers’ safety and security. However, without a proper management, the drivers find ways to charge expensive fares to the commuters. Jumping to the automated system without proper and careful management and bug fixes also invites failures in a long run. So it is undeniable that such ride hailing services requires a special attention.
For now, respecting the startups, let’s hope these startups will be able to hunt down the existing inconvenience regarding the public transportation and follow a luring and more structured fare system in coming days. Furthermore, let’s hope that such services may find scope outside the Kathmandu valley be available on every possible destination within the country.