Awami Sawari – A New Rickshaw App for Pakistanis

Awami Sawari – A New Rickshaw App for Pakistanis

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LAHORE: Taking on tech giants, a local rickshaw union has taken it upon itself to compete through an app of their own called Awami Sawari, which will allow a commuter to call a rickshaw and generate more leads for rickshaw drivers in and around the city.

The Awami Rickshaw Union (ARU) launched this new ride-hailing app in a ceremony held at a local hotel on Sunday.

The ARU has fixed a base tariff of Rs48 and Rs9 per kilometer for travelling anywhere in the city. The tariff of Awami Sawari App is not very competitive as compared to UberAuto or Careem’s Teez rickshaw service. ARU President Majeed Ghauri believed the ownership of the new app is the core strength of this initiative.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ghauri said that as many as 500 rickshaw drivers have already been registered with the App. The union has asked rickshaw drivers to encourage their passengers to install Awami Sawari App and call rickshaw at their doorstep. The union is also trying to provide android smartphones to rickshaw drivers to make the initiative a success.

Replying to a question, he said it is totally a made-in Pakistan app and there is no foreign stakeholder. “Some of our friends, who have a tech background, helped us in developing the mobile application platform for rickshaw drivers and commuters. The application has been tested among a select group of users and all bugs have been fixed before the launch,” he maintained.

“We are not against multinational ride-hailing services operating in different cities but we are against the uneven playing field. The rickshaw drivers are paying for vehicle fitness certificates, traffic police challans, the fines imposed by the environment department and several other such taxes and penalties, while these ride-hailing services are snatching passengers from rickshaw drivers,” he underscored.

A rickshaw driver, Aslam Qadri, said the recently introduced ride-hailing services have snatched nearly 30% to 40% of their business. “Earlier, bus terminals and railway stations were prime spots for rickshaw drivers, but now people alight of the buses and trains and hire these ride-hailing services right away, while rickshaw and taxi drivers kept standing for hours.”

Qadri said that these companies were offering very low tariff for rickshaw drivers in which they can hardly meet their fuel and other expenses. “In case, if you are using a rented rickshaw you will hardly get any profit after paying rickshaw rent, fuel expenses and service fee,” he said.

A commuter, Shahzad Haseeb, said everyday new people were introducing the mobile phone-based travelling solution, but several rickshaw apps were already in the market and struggling. “It is mainly happening due to low literacy level and lethargic attitude of rickshaw drivers. I wish all the best to the owners of this new app, but it will be a tough competition for them in the presence of global giants.”

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