Traveling in a public vehicle is often troublesome. Starting from the front door, one has to fight against the molecule-tight congestion. Furthermore, “surplus” threats like harassment and pickpocketing come underway. To evade such problems, hailing a private vehicle like a bike, scooter, taxi, or 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, the services, user-friendliness, app reliability & user interface are the factors that make different ride hailing apps in Nepal unique amongst the others.
If you are familiar with the Uber and Ola services, it would be easier to present the following apps/services like Uber and Ola of Nepal.
Also Read: Best Digital Wallets in Nepal
It is easy to get started with their services. In order to get benefitted from the services, one needs to download the app first and register. And to use the services, the users need to provide pickup and destination locations in the app requesting a ride. If placed well, the drivers can see the request. And the one in the proximity of the customer’s end or whoever is free will respond 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 the valley populace. However, there have been quite some politically charged movements against the ride hailing or ride-sharing platforms in Nepal; especially from taxi unions and such. Though their operation is entirely legal and even the Supreme Court has validated it time and again, such private parties have been “harassing” such ride hailing services. Here we will discuss such ride hailing apps in Nepal, which are applauded for their praiseworthy efforts to ease the transportation.
Best Ride Hailing Apps in Nepal 
Taking the Nepalese ride hailing industry by storm is Pathao. With its ingeniously catchy name and an international stature backing it up, it was quite amazing to see how quickly Pathao managed to conquer the Nepalese roads. It is a Bangladeshi startup and the first digital business to go international. The company started its operational journey in Kathmandu, Nepal since 25th September 2018, with a 24×7 service.
Though Pathao has a wide range of services including ride hailing (two-wheelers, taxi), parcels, food delivery, and e-commerce delivery in its home country of Bangladesh, it started with only two-wheeler service in the valley. However, Pathao’s portfolio has since expanded to car-sharing as well from August 9, 2019. And the company promises other facilities joining shortly. Pathao has also set speed limits to its partners; which is set at an average of 15km/hr during daytime and 40km/hr during the night.
The process of taking rides on Pathao is fairly standard and simple. After giving location permissions, the app recognizes where you are and you can either type in your destination or pin it using the embedded map. Finally, once you confirm the ride request, the cost is calculated and you can request a ride from the nearby riders. The process is the same for renting cars too. Let’s briefly go through pricing. In terms of two-wheelers, Pathao levies a base charge of Rs. 15 and Rs. 25 per every km of the ride.
Moving on, things get a little different when it comes to four-wheelers. Here, the standard price is an exact Rs. 100 and Rs. 39 for every km of the ride. Additionally, “a rupee per minute of the ride” is added to the net cost. While that does welcome the probability of vulnerabilities from the ride-sharer, Pathao says they have proper measures at the place to eliminate or at least minimize them. Every single ride is tracked by GPS in real-time by the company to prevent any misbehaviors from its riders. As a customer, you can also send your live location to your friends for an added layer of security. Getting to payments, you can either pay cash upfront or through digital wallets like eSewa, Khalti, etc.
Tootle, like Pathao, is a popular ride-sharing service in Kathmandu that lets the users summon a two-wheeler driver to transport the passenger. And since motorcycle/scooter is the designated vehicle for transportation, the fair for the commute is usually lower than the four-wheeled taxis, which is unavailable in the company’s list of services.
To get along with its services, one needs to log in to the 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, Khalti, or IME Payment.
There is also the Tootle Partner app for people, who own a two-wheeler and seek 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. Though the service was limited to the time frame of 6 AM to 9 PM, Tootle has gone 24 x 7 since November 2019. 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.
At the time of its conception in 2017, Sarathi started as an offline cab-hailing service that operated through an on-call basis through its call center or website in Kathmandu. It had been quite some time since the Sarathi Cab website promised to release the Sarathi app in the app stores and they delivered on it after a long-long time. Unlike Pathao and Tootle, Sarathi is a cab-exclusive ride hailing platform.
Aside from the exclusivity, the services of Sarathi Cab is nothing different from the others. One can make the request for a ride via the and an available driver approaches the interesting ones for transportation. The fare for the commute is also the same in the Sarathi cab. It goes along the rates declared by the government body; on the meter. It also has 24 x 7 service and you can make payments through either cash, card, or a digital wallet.
4. Easy Taxi Nepal
Next up, we have Easy Taxi Nepal. Developed in collaboration with Uptyaka Taxi Bewasahi Tatha Chalak Sewa Samaj, the company has around 5000 taxi drivers associated inside its platform. And as the name suggests, this is an on-demand taxi-only platform. But like every other ride hailing platform in the list, Easy Taxi Nepal operates on GPS technology to locate and connect ride seekers and nearby drivers.
And once you give location permissions to the app, you can begin your ride-booking journey. Just select your destination and the type of cab you’d like to order, and that’s about it. There is even an option to track the arrival of your ordered cab in real-time inside the app’s map. You can make payments through either physical currency, or use digital payment platforms. When it comes to pricing, Easy Taxi Nepal has a fairly standard policy and is comparable to other similar platforms; though it hasn’t entirely been made transparent.
5. Eddy Cab
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. What’s more? The service is available 24 x 7 to all the customers in Kathmandu.
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 a 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.
6. Kawa Rides
Blending transportation and technology together, Kawa started its services. It translates to “Come Get Me” in the Nepal Bhasa. 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 the Department of Transportation Management.
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. In terms of rate, Kawa operates strictly on meter up to 2km outside Ringroad. Then from 2km to 10km outside Ringroad, it is Rs. 36/km (+50%) – oneway. It also provides services up to and beyond 50km of Ringroad with the price of Rs. 36/km (on the meter) x 2 with varying discounts.
Also, the commuter should be punctual for the cab. If the potential passenger arrives late for the ride, an extra amount would levy on the bill for the driver’s waiting time. And such fine for arriving late upsurges 50% more for the night time of 9 PM to 6 AM. 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 on the map at the start and demands picking up a destination. 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 its services, their iOS counterparts are yet unavailable on the App Store, which is a real bummer.
“SuperApp” – sounds like an app you’d see pop-up as an unskippable ad on your phone, but no. It’s a relatively new ride-sharing platform based in Kathmandu, Nepal, and is a subsidiary company of Business Growth Company Pvt. Ltd. Though it is in its initial phase of operation, besides two-wheeler vehicle sharing, the company has already started working on bringing in four-wheelers into its platform as well.
Likewise, the SuperApp app is only available on the Google Play Store while a release on Apple’s App Store is in the works. Disappointingly, the app crashes way too frequently to the point where it’s unusable. I installed SuperApp v1.2.4 (March 5, 2020) on my Samsung Galaxy S20+ and it just wouldn’t launch. So, I hope the developers will look into the app stability ASAP because the platform has such a huge potential.
Booking a ride on SuperApp is incredibly easy as in every other platform we’ve discussed on this list. Select the vehicle type (two-wheeler for now), pickup location (automatically using GPS), and finally the destination. It’s got a separate platform for ride seekers & drivers. The latter of which is called “SuperPartner.” Yeah, everything’s Super around here. The rest of it is boilerplate ride-sharing stuff; the price is calculated after you pick the start & end point of your ride. And once you confirm it, the app matches you with nearby SuperPartner(s). Moreover, you can book the ride either for yourself or someone else through your account.
8. Onver Smart Taxi
And the final entry on our list is Onver, which started their services from 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. It 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 a 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 facilities. The app is currently available on Google Play Store. And the company has plans to launch the app for the iOS 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.
Best Ride Hailing Apps in Nepal [Summary]
|Rank||Popular Bike & Taxi Booking Apps List|
|4||Easy Taxi Nepal|
|8||Onver Smart Taxi|
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 to digitizing the nation.
Also, the use of licensed, well-trained, and well-experienced drivers on the service has shown their concern about the alarming issues like passengers’ safety and security. However, without 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 the long run. So it is undeniable that such ride-hailing apps in Nepal require special attention.
For now, respecting the startups, let’s hope these startups will be able to hunt down the existing inconvenience regarding public transportation and follow a luring and more structured fare system in the coming days. Furthermore, let’s hope that such services may find scope outside the Kathmandu valley to be available on every possible destination within the country.