As a young woman trying to navigate through the streets of Lahore on her own, I frequently find myself in need of transport. I don’t think anyone else was as happy as me when ride hailing apps came to Pakistan.
Finally, I wouldn’t have to beg my dad or friends for a ride! Finally, I could experience that sweet, sweet taste of independence and self-sufficiency!
Buckle up, because have I got a review for you.
Options: Uber gives you the option of booking three types of cars; Uber, UberGO, UberX, and Uber Rickshaw. The better the type of car; the more you have to pay. Since Uber Rickshaw is the cheapest travel option, I used it whenever I was low on cash.
Experience: Uber was the first ride hailing app to penetrate the Pakistani market. Initially, I used Uber a lot. I had dozens of positive experiences, but the bad experiences I had with them led me to delete the app altogether.
The last straw was when I was taking an Uber Rickshaw to university, and the driver started to take a route opposite to where my destination was. Upon protest, he told me to quieten down because he knew where he had to go. I freaked out and started screaming at him to stop the rickshaw, then ended up hailing another rickshaw for myself.
Customer service: Every time I have had bad experiences with Uber, I have complained through the app or emailed them, and every time, the response has been disappointing. It seems as if Uber deals with all of its customer complaints from their Netherlands offices since that is where the response email comes from.
The company never took action against the drivers who harassed me and made me fear for my safety. They reimburse the ride but what good will that do to me when I know the weird drivers I encountered are still working for them.
Options: Careem drivers are referred to as “Captains”, and the service gives you the option of choosing a GO, GO+ and Business car. Again, the price of the ride goes up as the quality of the car does. Careem also gives you the option to choose a rickshaw, the Careem Tezz.
Experience: I have lately only traveled with Careem. Most of my experiences have been positive, save a few unsavory ones. I have found the drivers to be more professional and not once have I felt unsafe when in a Careem car.
The few unsavory incidents that did occur did not have to do with harassment, but the Captain failing to add the change I was to receive as credit in my Careem wallet.
There was also an unfortunate incident where a Careem Captain started to harass my friend by calling her multiple times and asking her to be friends with him. Luckily, the Captain does not get your number unless you call them yourself. And best believe, this girl never calls a Captain unless absolutely necessary.
Customer Service: Careem has amazing customer service which I attribute to the fact that they have established offices in Pakistan. Whenever I complain about the service or a problematic Captain, they respond immediately by recording your complaint and then following up with an update about what action they took against the Captain, or what they can do to remedy your bad experience.
Oh, and by the way, Careem’s Twitter account is hilarious. A big reason why I am partial to Careem is how well their Twitter team handles my complaints and engages in banter with other Pakistani tweets!
Options: Shahi Sawari is solely a rickshaw hailing app.
Experience: After my falling out with Uber, I turned to this Pakistani alternative for rides to university. While the app is not that cheap, they always have promotional discounts and offers which can lower the price of rides.
The app is a little slow and crashes unexpectedly at times. Once, a Shahi Sawari driver tried to end the ride and the app stopped working. Long story short: it was a long time before I could pay him and run to class.
Thankfully I have never faced harassment or had too unpleasant an experience using Shahi Sawari.
Customer service: I have never had the opportunity to complain in-app about a driver or a ride. However, I have contacted the company multiple times to ask about their monthly packages and other information. The customer service department has always been extremely helpful and respectful, which makes me hopeful that they will respond similarly to bad experiences as well.
It is important to note that all these experiences are personal, and other people might have had different experiences with the ride hailing apps. This is what I have learned from my experience of frequently using these services for over a year.