Nothing portrays Digital Bangladesh like the way Uber or Pathao- the ride sharing giants do. Ever since the launch of these two ride sharing companies, they have in a way led the charge for a more digital, technology based Bangladesh. People have increased their app usages, they have gained more thorough knowledge regarding how mobile apps can be used to their own benefits and so on.
But more importantly, these businesses have gone on to make life easier for the people living in Bangladesh, particularly in Dhaka city.
Uber and Pathao have revolutionized the concept of ride sharing and commuting in Bangladesh. According to Uber, their drivers make around 9500 trips across Dhaka daily. Over the past one year or so, Uber has received over 1.5 million requests from their customers (In 2017).
On the other hand, Pathao claims to have over 1000 people using their Pathao Cars every day in Dhaka. Such overwhelming response from the consumers has resulted in many more ride sharing companies in Bangladesh. Shohoj and Obhai are two of the most recognized ones among them.
With so many people opting for these ride sharing companies, traditional private transports such as CNG and local taxis are missing out on a mass majority of their customers. This has led to a lot of protests, strikes and heavy criticisms by the CNG and Taxi owners and drivers. They claim that these companies are operating illegally and are taking up their share of the profits.
So, is it unfair?
The only question that can rise now is whether ride sharing is an unfair practice given how CNGs and Taxis are missing out on their regular customer. The answer is quite a mixture.
Yes! You can have your say on the tax issue. The law states that any vehicles used for commercial purposes shall have to pay income tax and face other regulations such as CNGs and Taxis. But companies like UBER and Pathao are dodging it using the argument that they are simply connecting private car owners with the passengers. At the end of the day they are still private owners and nothing more.
But we all need to understand one thing, it’s not the companies that has taken away the consumers from the Taxi/CNG owners. The consumers has chosen them because these companies are making lives easier from the beginning. For instance:
- Fare Distribution: We all had our days when we complained about the reckless asking of fare by the CNG drivers. But having a fixed or estimated fare from these ride sharing companies has made the life of consumer much easier.
- Availability: I don’t about you but during many rainy days, I had to pay a lot extra for a very short distance before the ride sharing era. Sometimes, even if someone was willing to pay some extra money, availability of the vehicles was a huge issue.
- Time is money: We all know what we are talking about. Yes! Traffic Congestion. There was a report published by the Dhaka Tribune stating- Dhaka loses 3.2m working hours due to traffic congestion daily. Pathao bikes and Uber Moto dealt with it with perfection. Full report here.
Shohoj and Obhai are also becoming handy nowadays addressing this issue.
- Professionalism: The pure sense of politeness and professionalism has provided an advantage to these companies like the cherry on the top.
Having said all these, it’s true that these companies also had their fair share of mistakes. It’s great that lawmakers are now on the verge of including ride-sharing under the judicial umbrella. So, hopefully the allegations of creating an unfair competitive environment won’t stand for long.
But whatever happens, we hope that consumers will always have an ease in their daily life.