Uber — the on-demand taxi service which has fast become a household name across the globe — is launching in Pakistan within days, we have heard.
Based on early information Uber operations will start from Lahore initially and will expand soon to other cities.
However, Uber will face competition from the likes of Careem, who have been aggressively expanding to grab as much market share as they can, and A-Taxi, who are backed by Turkish investors and the Government of Punjab.
For those who don’t know Uber offers a smartphone app to consumers through which they can request taxi-like pickup and drop service. Customers, after placing a request for service, can view the time a car might take to reach him/her.
According to information disclosed by sources, Uber will be more expensive than Rickshaws but cheaper than any other taxi service (including A-Taxi). This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Uber is known to swallow significant losses in early stages of a new operation to scale faster.
While we don’t have confirmed prices just yet, as Uber is still in process of determining a per KM rate, it is estimated that Uber will charge around Rs. 15 to Rs. 20 per KM (with a variance of Rs. 2) on top of ride setup charges that would be somewhere around Rs. 100 to Rs. 150
Ride setup charges or fixed initial charge will offer 2-3 KM for free, after which roughly Rs. 15 would be charged per KM.
Uber, according to well placed sources, will operate on cash for those who are without credit or debit cards. And those with credit and debit cards will be able to attach their accounts to get auto deductions after completing their rides.
Uber drivers in Pakistan are going to go through rigorous tests and verification procedures before they will be taken on-board. On top of in-house professional and behavioral trainings, Uber will require all drivers to pass verification through multiple stages to get on-board.
Once approved, drivers will be able to serve consumers and earn good cash.
It’s too early to guess at how much impact Uber will have in Pakistan but with attractive rates and a very well established brand, it’s not hard to imagine Uber expanding just as fast as it has in other countries.