In an attempt to counter the growing influence of modern cab-hailing services and save the sinking ship of their own businesses, the Rickshaw Union of Pakistan has launched a modernized rickshaw-hailing app, known as ‘ Awaami Sawari ’. While services such as Uber and Careem have extended economical convenience towards consumers, this project by the Rickshaw Union is another innovation solution for commuters as well as Rickshaw drives.
Not only would it be affordable and convenient, but would also keep Rickshaw drivers employed and utilized, enabling them to earn bread and butter for their families.
Explaining the falling demand for Rickshaws and the reasons behind it, President ARU Majeed Ghauri said, “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. 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.
Awaami Sawari by Awaami Rickshaw Union (ARU) works on a structure very similar to that of Careem and Uber. The Rickshaw drivers would be equipped with Android smartphone and consumers would be able to use the mobile application to get a ride at their doorstep, without any sort of hassle. Elaborating the concept behind the service, Majeed Ghauri added, “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”.
As far as the rates are concerned, Awaami Sawari is fairly economical. The base Tariff is Rs.48 and the cost per Km is Rs.9.
This service is currently limited to Lahore only however, would be introduced to other cities as well in the near future.