From gathering love and support from the people of Pakistan to being engulfed with the tax controversy, the cab-hailing companies have seen their fair share of ups and downs.
Though we have quite a few companies in Pakistan that are offering taxi services, Uber and Careem have made their mark on the people, unlike others. But the recent changes in the cost structure have rendered the drivers of the both service confused and frustrated.
Root of the Problem
Earlier this month, Uber slashed fares for UberGO in Lahore and Karachi by 20%. Following this huge twist, Careem also reduced its GO cars prices in Lahore and Karachi by 25% and 20% respectively. Now, I don’t actually have a preference when it comes to mobile app based cabs. I’ll order whichever one is near, plain and simple.
The reduction in fares was an extremely happy moment for me as it saved me quite a lot of money if you factor in all the amount you pay throughout the month. But the response of drivers that I rode with was completely different, and without any exception, everyone hated the companies for offering discounts.
Careem Driver’s Complaint
Last week I rode with careem and after I was done with the whole chit chat about life, weather and politics (the must have conversations), I asked him about his experience with Careem and he narrated that he used to love driving for them but now he’s actually disappointed.
For this article sake let’s call him Amjad. Now Amjad works for Careem’s vendor and is frustrated because of the said discount in fares.
The expenses are the same for the drivers but why is it so that the customers are paying less
Amjad relayed that the drivers who work for Careem partners are already not treated well. The human resource no doubt is treated like garbage in our country but the way the guy talked actually struck a cord with me.
He said: “You are supposed to drive a car more than 12-18 hours a day for a pay which is actually peanuts and are scolded for taking a minute or two for yourself.”
Many Careem vendors try to cheat the Captains out of bonuses
Uber Driver’s Version
A few days later after my interaction with the Careem driver, I rode with Uber and out of curiosity asked him about the effects of discounted prices. The guy, let’s call him Rohail, works with both Careem and Uber but prefers the latter. He said; “Uber provides better service quality to both, the driver and the passenger whereas Careem doesn’t offer the same value.”
The guy, let’s call him Rohail, works with both Careem and Uber but prefers the latter. He said; “Uber provides better service quality to both, the driver and the passenger whereas Careem is not fair with either.”
Rohail described that the most annoying thing he finds about Careem is their lack of transparent operations which isn’t fair to vendors or their customers. Talking about the recent discount, he relayed that it wasn’t affecting him too much as “unlike Careem, you hardly have to wait too long for another ride.”
Another Uber driver that I met with last night (let’s call him Shair Khan, because why not) also sometimes worked for Careem. He was a part-time driver and full-time student.
Just like Rohail, he was all praises for Uber saying that most of the people fail to enter the right address for themselves. Due to not receiving the rider’s number while working with Careem, they just have to wait for them to magically show up.
The riders are actually taking a hit after the discounted prices were announced. The petrol prices are the same and so are the bonuses that drivers are being offered so unless they are willing to work extra time, the amount of money that they were once earning will slowly shrink.
With the arrival of Summer, the A/C cost alone would increase the expenses
Shair Khan described that many of his friends are leaving Uber because they are not earning the same amount of money that they were earning before. Now a person hardly pays 250-300 from Gulberg to Defence instead of 400-450, which is making it difficult for drivers to put the extra effort.
Pakistanis genetically are a price sensitive nation. Which means we don’t care about quality as long as it is light on our pockets. Uber and Careem have provided us with a much-needed alternative to rickshaws and substandard taxis, but would they both able to survive the price wars or go down trying to provide the cheap experience to their customers? Only time would tell.