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Albayrak versus Ubergo

by Jawad Ali

Albayrak and Uber launch a new cab service in Lahore, starting a new era of public transport in the city.

In a short span of less than three weeks’ time, two major taxi service providers have started offering their services in Lahore – likely the most happening city of Pakistan on transport infrastructure development and field of information and technology.

Albayrak taxi service was launched in mid-February while Uber launched just after two weeks from the same city after completing their market research.

Albayrak seems to be taking the lead when you compare the fares, convenience and accessibility between the two competing brands.

Albayrak taxi service is available via a phone call through their UAN 111-961-961. Or one can simply hail a passing cab like any other public transport and taxi services of the world. On a phone call, Albayrak is offering a 15 minutes’ waiting-time (to reach the destination to pick up the passenger(s)) which is acceptable in existing model and current traffic scenario of Lahore.

On the other hand, for the Uber taxi services, you must install an online mobile Application (mobile App) on your phone to book a cab.

Uber is offering a five minutes’ waiting period from the time of the call to their estimated time of arrival (ETA) which seems highly questionable in the current Lahore’s traffic scenario.

Albayrak has an added advantage of public acceptance through its existing mega projects like Metro Bus services in Lahore and Rawalpindi-Islamabad and other municipality services in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Murree. Thus, the Turkish company has good working ties with the Punjab government, and has been given an added advantage of expanding their network easily as compared to world renowned taxi service Uber.

Fare Analysis

Albayrak users have better fare options as compared to Uber users too.

The formula of the fare calculation of the Albayrak is very simple. The passenger has to pay base price of PKR 120 which is a minimum and applicable for the first three kilometers, after which the passengers are being charged PKR 35 per kilometer. Thus, if a passenger is traveling a 10 kilometer distance on Albayrak taxi service, the total fare will be PKR 365 for the trip.

Now, Uber has relatively low base price of PKR 100. However, it has a cancelation charge of PKR 150 in case of a change in plans on arrival.

The formula of the calculation of fare of Uber is as follows: base fare starts at $0.95, with each kilometer priced at $0.13 and $0.04 per minute for the time that the car is in use.

Current US$- PKR-parity is estimated US$ 1 = PKR 105.

Thus approximately base price is PKR 100, cost of 10 kilometer distance is PKR 136.5, and PKR 4.2 per minute charge of using the taxi which is difficult to calculate as time factor is unpredictable in the current traffic situation of Lahore.

This means a 10-kilometer ride will be base priced at PKR 236.5 plus adding on the travel time which can’t be defined in Lahore’s current traffic mess where traffic can be blocked at any time anywhere on an account of any protest or a VIP movement. For example, if a passenger is moving towards the downtown, Mall Road or Davis Road, or any such roads where traffic remains congested, the time factor cost can be more than the distance traveled! If a taxi is stuck in a traffic on Davis Road or Mall Road for half an hour, the passenger will have to bear PKR 126 for that additional time which considerably increases the total travel cost.

Second flaw of this fare rate is that the US$ has a floating rate which changes on daily basis in Pakistan. The common passenger might not be aware of the US$-PKR parity rate. In other words, the same distance and time traveled could cost differently on any given day depending on the dollar rate.

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