The City of Karachi lacks a proper mass transit system. This is evident when you see the millions of residents in the city trying to reach their destinations facing a constant daily struggle. To combat this dilemma entered Careem a few years back, shortly followed by Uber and Bykea.
Among the available ride-hailing services Careem and Uber are the major players. Initially, they were inexpensive, especially their lower-tier car section. But rising inflation, devaluation of the rupee and increasing fuel costs resulted in the companies increasing their fares. This has made hailing a car ride in Careem/Uber really expensive. Especially for someone like me who is dependent on these services to go from point A to point B.
A Few Hiccups Along The Way
Firstly, you search your pickup and dropoff points. Then you’ll be shown the available routes offered at the moment. Choose the desired route. Your seat will be booked and you’ll be directed to a nearby pickup point.
An important point to note is that the pickup points vary. Some pickup stops are near while others are at a considerable walking distance. It is generally advised that you reach ten minutes before the arrival time. Since you can track the coasters, when they arrive you’ll proceed by boarding the bus and telling the driver your boarding pass number.
Airlift & Swvl Are The Future Of Transportation In Pakistan
Both of the services are highly convenient and easy on the pocket. Airlift gives you 5 free rides when you sign up, while Swvl offers free rides using its promo khifree. Both are highly similar in functionality and will surely transform the mass transit system throughout the major cities in Pakistan.
1) You Can Call The Driver
While both of the apps are easy to operate, Swvl allows the passenger to call the driver directly on his number, while Airlift doesn’t offer this option.
I was able to call my Swvl driver and inform him that I was waiting for him at the pickup point and he was able to confirm if that was the correct pickup point (because yes, it can be confusing sometimes because they’re still configuring new routes every single day).
2) Low Cost, Higher Returns
Both of these services are light on the pocket and were a God-send to use during Karachi’s heatwave. All of the buses are centrally air-conditioned and the seats are spacious, so you don’t accidentally end up invading someone’s personal space.
3) No More Carpooling!
Yes, you read that right. These apps will solve the dilemma of waiting for people that are going the same way as you, just so you can save on a few bucks.
No more misunderstandings with the members of your communal carpool WhatsApp group, because you didn’t save them a spot. Airlift & Swvl are drama free, need I say more…
4) Offering Massive Competition To Bykea, Careem & Uber
I highly recommend using these services more often, especially when you want to go to your universities or offices. They can’t entirely replace Bykea or Careem/Uber but are a welcome addition in the category.
As they say competition breeds innovation. Maybe, we might see Careem launch a Bus category in its app. Who knows?
Till that happens, Safe Travels!
Osama is a self-professed Music & art connoisseur.