POST TIME: 21 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 November, 2019 02:11:20 AM
Field day for ride-sharing services
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Field day for ride-sharing services

 As transport workers kicked off their wildcat strike over the past few days, throwing the country into chaos, not everyone was dismayed. A handful of ride-sharing apps, including Pathao, Uber, and O Bhai, reported soaring volumes as commuters turned to alternative means of transport. “I called on a biker through Pathao. On other days, it usually takes five to 10 minutes to find a ride. But today it seems all bikes are occupied,” said Tanvir Elahi, a software company employee at the city’s Farmgate area.

Tanvir assumed that since no public buses were available yesterday, people had no option but to go for ride-sharing apps. “I believe that’s why it is taking longer to get a ride,” he said. Asruf-ul-Jubair, a business development manager with a telecom company, said he generally does not use bike ride-sharing service as the bikers tend to be reckless. “But today, I had to use Pathao to reach my office. It was my saviour,” he said.

Nazmus Saquib, a lawyer, said he booked an Uber because he needed to go to the passport office yesterday. “The fare was higher than usual. The price seemed to have been adjusted via the surge in demand method employed by Uber,” he added.

The Karwan Bazar intersection is generally crowded with O Bhai app bikers waiting for passengers in their monogrammed T-shirts and helmets. But the intersection wore a deserted look yesterday. Unlike other days, all those bikers had passengers yesterday. “I came here to hire one of the O Bhai riders, but the street vendor here told me that all of the bikers got rides today,” said Sohail, a businessman.

 Employees of the ride-sharing apps said they had a field day yesterday. “There was no waiting period in my system. As soon as I finished one ride, I got a request for another one,” said Saddam Hossain, a rider with Pathao. “The transport strike was a boost for us,” said Hussain Elius, CEO of Pathao. “According to our tech team, we had, on Wednesday, one of the greatest numbers of simultaneous users on Dhaka roads since launching our app,” he added.