Careem marks Pakistan as largest ride-hailer

Lack of quality mass transportation favours ride-hailing service to widen network


Usman Hanif November 30, 2022
An employee shows the logo of ride-hailing company Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI:

In the absence of quality mass transportation services, Pakistan has come out on top as the biggest user of ride hailing service Careem, as the company announced its landmark one billion rides breakdown.

The one billion ride record is stretched across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, based on trips, driven over nine billion kilometres across more than 80 cities over ten years. The countries with the highest number of rides recorded are Pakistan at 299 million – with a population of around 214 million, Saudi Arabia’s rides were recorded at 242 million – with a population of 35.34 million, and Egypt at 230 million – with a population of 104.3million.

Speaking to the Express Tribune, startup Investment Specialist Kapeel Kumar said, “Ride-hailing apps have become an important travel alternative in many cities across the globe. In the same way, Pakistan’s increased digital consumption has also fuelled exponential growth of the phenomenon in the country.” 

“Pakistan’s startup ecosystem has witnessed tumultuous times with fundraising announcements coming in tandem with announcements of downsizing and the closing of operations. However, I see plenty of potential for startups, especially in spaces like ride hailing, fintech, and health tech due to a huge population of youth and enhanced smartphone penetration in all sectors,” he stated.

Si Global CEO, Noman Ahmed Said was of the opinion that the local transport system is mundane and outdated. “Passengers suffer on account of non-availability of a decent mode of transportation – which sometimes results in them risking their lives and safety.” 

“Revenue in the ride-hailing and taxi segment is projected to reach $0.88 billion in 2022. Careem is the first name that comes to mind when you think about ride-hailing services in Pakistan. In fact, Pakistani customers’ rides constitute a third of the one billion ride milestone. Having taken inspiration from Careem, several ride-hailing startups have initiated business recently,” explained Ahmed.

Talking about the competition between traditional taxi companies and ride-hailing services, Ahmed said, “Companies providing ride-hailing services are moving away from providing traditional taxi services to services that can be booked via apps (for e.g., ride pooling), which makes the process more transparent for customers than ever before.” 

In Pakistan, safety is of grave concern to women commuters – especially when embarking upon a journey in public transport or via ride-hailing apps. “In a survey conducted recently by local media, it was found that 30% of women using ride-hailing services have felt unsafe. To ensure women’s safety, service providers can consider introducing car-pool options,” suggested the Si Global Ceo, adding that,

“Women commuters feel safer when they are not alone with the drivers, so it might become easier for women to use ride-hailing services, if they have the opportunity to car-pool. In addition, women may feel safer if they are given a choice to opt for driver based on gender.” 

Topline Securities Director Research Umair Naseer said, “The rising cost of transportation in the form of fuel charges is a big concern for ride-hailing entities. Even though there is still room for growth due to the absence of strong transport infrastructure.” 

Praising the government’s new bus service, Ahmed said “It is a good start but as history shows, the government is not very good at maintenance and management. We hope that this time history is not repeated.” 

“Transport also plays a huge role in a country’s image to foreign visitors, tourists and investors,” explained the Si Global ceo. “The monotony and exhaustion brought on by a broken transport infrastructure system may discourage foreigners to pursue Pakistan at all,” he said.
Highlight:

“Transport plays a huge role in a country’s image to foreign visitors, tourists and investors. The monotony and exhaustion brought on by a broken transport infrastructure system may discourage foreigners to pursue Pakistan at all,” says Noman Ahmed Said, CEO of Si Global.

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