Commuting is a hassle that most of us have to deal with every day. It gets worse when you use cabs for traveling to work or school, given that you have to deal with a different person every day.
It also takes a toll on your wallet as it costs more to travel alone. Safety concerns, the hassle of finding a new cab every day, and the uncertainty involved in the process make it unreliable at times.
Enter carpooling, an alternative to Careem/Uber and conventional taxis. It’s economical, safe, and eco-friendly, not to mention cheaper than the former.
A new carpooling service has been launched in Pakistan called “RASAI”, which is a website that connects the commuters with drivers with free seats in their cars. This service is for people who commute between Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
According to the users, availing this service can cut the travel costs by 40 percent while giving you a sense of safety during the commute.
Cheaper and Safer
The website has been launched by Muhammad Hassamuddin, a 26-year-old civil engineer and a National University of Science and Technology (NUST) graduate. Launched in mid-2018, the website has 1,400 registered users and over 300 participating vehicles.
“Our purpose and business model is to give easy access to transport services for people by bringing them online,” says Hassamuddin. The service has been acclaimed by the UN Environment for being part of a push for low-carbon lifestyles.
The service helps reduce pollution and congestion, which are pressing issues in Islamabad and other major cities of Pakistan. It can be solved by carpooling, as lesser vehicles will be plying on the roads.
“Our overall vision is to utilize the extra capacity of vehicles, either passenger or goods vehicles, plying the roads,” says Hassamuddin, who got the idea when he was a student and needed to commute to and from college.
“I saw a particular need to start this project,” he recalls.
The cars and vans traveling a daily route can register with RASAI via the website. The customers looking for a ride are then told of possible matches. For now, calls and text messages are used to connect the drivers and customers. However, the service is going to launch a mobile app soon.
Currently, around 600 riders are using the service for daily pick-ups. The service also offers impromptu car-pooling opportunities. However, this option is not commonly used as around 20 to 30 riders avail this in a week.
The fact that the drivers are registered with a central database makes this service more reliable, as this is not the case with conventional taxis.