Traveling during night time in Kathmandu is not that easy, especially to those who don’t own their vehicles. Public vehicles are available only till 8 PM and taxis charge too high amount at night. In such a scenario, Tootle – a homegrown ride-sharing app – has announced to go 24×7. It is surely great news to those who have to travel during night time. Now, you don’t need to worry about the expensive taxi service as Tootle is now serving you 24 hours.
Tootle introduced commercial bike ride-sharing in Nepal back in 2017. It was the sole player in the industry until last year when Pathao – a Bangladeshi transportation sharing app – entered the market and expanded its service aggressively. Currently, Pathao and Tootle are the two key players that have not only dominated the ride-sharing industry in Nepal but also shaken up the cab industry.
Once they were launched in the market, they quickly gained popularity because of cheaper fare compared to taxis. Currently, ride-sharing platforms like Tootle and Pathao are one of the easiest means to commute around Kathmandu.
The market size of ride-sharing platforms in Nepal
Currently, 10,000+ users in Kathmandu are estimated to be taking a ride-sharing service daily. Since there is no government body to regulate these service providers yet, getting authentic data about the number of riders is not possible. So it is also difficult to state the market size and customer-base of these companies.
However, Pathao is estimated to have a larger customer base compared to Tootle. We can notice this from Pathao/Tootle support group on Facebook.
And, compared to its competitor – Pathao, Tootle takes less service charge from its riders. Tootle charges 5% of the ride fare as service charge whereas Pathao takes 20% from its drivers. In this scenario, Tootle can attract more bike drivers and a healthy user base.
Currently, lack of availability of riders and ride requests not being accepted is a major weakness of Tootle. By enrolling new riders and asking them to be active during the specific hours, Tootle can attract a healthy user base.
Significance of 24×7 Service
Tootle going 24×7 is good news not only for the customers but Tootle partners (drivers) as well. It’ll be an additional opportunity for Tootle partners to earn more as there are people who need rides in the late hours. The drivers should be highly motivated by more earnings as they spare their cozy bedtime to provide the service. Furthermore, they are also serving people in need.
Safety Concerns of Bike Ride-Sharing at Night
Ride-sharing during the night time might be risky to both Tootle partners as well as the riders. So, Tootle needs to work on ensuring safety to riders as well as Tootle partners. Tootle should properly orient its Tootle partners on how to remain safe at night and how to safely transport passengers to their destination.
Ride-Sharing Industry in Nepal: Where is it heading?
Though bike ride-sharing is a very recent phenomenon in Nepal, it’s gaining popularity day by day. The recent crack-down on Tootle and Pathao became national news. It made people talk and debate about the potential of such an industry in Nepal and safety concerns associated with this service.
Along with Tootle and Pathao, other service providers like Sarara Nepal are gearing up slowly. Furthermore, it has been rumored that Sarathi is also coming up with a bike ride-sharing service. The number of new entrants in this field is expected to keep rising because of the growing need and increasing awareness and publicity about the ride-sharing industry.
Currently, most of the ride-sharing platforms seem to be Kathmandu-centered. Tootle is the only ride-sharing company that has expanded its service outside of Kathmandu valley – to Pokhara.
Regarding Tootle’s 24×7 service, we are yet to see how effective its service will be. But, most of the users seem to be optimistic now. We can see this in Tootle’s announcement post on Facebook about the service, and various social media posts by its users.
Do you use Tootle? How is your experience of using Tootle? Are you going to use its service during the night as well? Will Tootle’s night-time ride-sharing (24×7) service be an effective and reliable alternative to taxis? Please share your experience and thoughts in the comment box below.