Last Friday, Pathao launched its new ride-sharing based on “cars” called the Pathaocars. Well, it’s like a combination of Pathao (Motorcycle) and Sarathi app. Basically, people can order a cab through the app, select location, it arrives, payment and so forth.
Currently, Pathaocars only works as a taxi-hailing service called as “Car Lite” feature. However, there are plans to introduce “Car Plus” with personal cars in the mix. After the much-anticipated launch, well… things have happened.
We’ll cover that in a while. But before we do that, here’s everything you need to know about Pathaocars.
How to Use Pathaocars?
Basically, it’s the same method as with motorcycles.
You open the Pathao app, where you’ll be greeted with the newly redesigned layout. On the home page, you will get to choose from the “Bike” or “Car” option. Else, you can directly search the place you want to go to.
After you enter the address, you’ll be greeted by quite an attractive user interface. Furthermore, you’ll also be able to see available motorcycles or taxis in that area, in real-time. Moreover, you can easily see the pricing along with some additional detail. Finally, you can confirm it. And that’s it!
You should note that the number of motorcycles exceeds that of taxis, but it might be more balanced in the future.
Let’s be honest here, there’s a certain controversy surrounding the fare price. While Pathao is trying to be as transparent as possible, the competition says otherwise.
So, we took the courtesy to break-down how everything works. Let’s suppose that we’re trying to get to Maitidevi from our TechLekh office which is located at Sifal, Kathmandu.
After selecting the “Car Lite” option, the total fare comes down to Rs. 185-190 (depending on the time of the day and demand). Pathao app divides that fare into following points.
- Service Charge (Set by Pathao): Rs. 100.00
- Per Kilometer (Set by Nepal Government): Rs. 39.00
- Per Minute (Set by Pathao): Rs. 1.00
- Per Minute (Set by Nepal Government): Rs. 3.50
Pathaocars: Ultimate Price Breakdown
If you use Pathaocars service, you must pay the service charge of Rs. 100. Moreover, the location and time do not matter… the service charge or “booking charge” is set in stones. So, every time you book a cab through Pathao, that service charge of Rs.100 will always be there, irrespective of time and location of bookings.
Additionally, you will have to pay for the total “per kilometers” which you’ve traveled (in my case: 2.2km). This is a fairly standard rule set by the Nepal Government.
Rs. 100 + (Rs. 39 x 2.2) = Rs. 185.8
If you calculate everything, the total fare comes as Rs. 185.8 which sounds fairly reasonable. But you forgot one tiny detail! Whenever you reach your location, the app will factor in another additional charge on top of that total fare.
Pathaocars: Additional Charges
In Pathaocars, the amount of time it took the cab to reach from one point to another, taking me from Sifal to Maitidevi, has to be compensated as “Rs. 1 per minute”.
Theoretically, if Google Maps says that it takes “10 minutes” to reach Maitidevi. The Pathao app will add Rs. 10 on top of that Rs. 185.8, which bring it to the total Rs. 195.8.
However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, if it takes 15 minutes to reach Maitidevi, then you must pay for the extra 5 minutes, on top of that Google Maps’ estimation of just 10 minutes. So, you will have to pay a total of Rs. 15, ultimately bringing the total at Rs. 200.8.
According to the Pathao representative, the “service charge” is there as an additional fare to get the taxi from its original location to customers location. Yes, petrol and diesel are expensive, but Rs. 100 sounds a little unfair. Maybe, Pathao should consider any amount less than that.
But, why do I have to pay for the total time it took the taxi to get to my location? That’s just confusing! Let’s not forget that it’s a loophole waiting to be abused.
What if, the cabbie takes the crowded road? What if, I spend hours on a traffic jam?? Do I still pay for the time I spend stuck on the traffic???
Apparently, the answer is yes… But there’s a silver lining!
If you look at the rates set by the Department of Transport Management, you would have to pay Rs. 3.50 per minute. In Pathao, you will only pay Rs. 1.00 which is slightly more affordable in comparison.
If you factor in every other scenario, Pathaocars rises up as the real winner.
Pathaocars isn’t the only company to provide online cab service in Nepal. There are two major hurdles, Sarathi, and Easy Taxi Nepal, Pathao has to overcome! Among the two competition, Easy Taxi Nepal is owned by Nepal Meter Taxi Association whereas Sarathi is a separate cab service provider.
Let’s take a quick look at the chart, comparing the fare prices in different apps.
|Location: Sifal to Maitidevi (Short Distance – 2.2Km)|
|Pathaocars||Sarathi||Easy Taxi Nepal|
|Rs. 195||Rs. 200||Rs. 201.50|
|Location: Sifal to Ishan Children Hospital (Long Distance – 4.6Km)|
|Pathaocars||Sarathi||Easy Taxi Nepal|
|Rs. 293||Rs. 290||Rs. 306.60|
Pathaocars: Final Thoughts
As it goes to show that the rest of the available taxi-hailing service in Nepal isn’t as different from one another. However, by far, Pathao feels the most furnished app with fast and snappy map navigation along with easy to use features.
Ironically, Taxi Association is against the whole idea of Pathaocars, claiming that the company cons its customers. Yet, Easy Taxi Nepal, which is owned by the Taxi Association, comes with the highest fare in comparison. Although, Pathao motorcycle is still the cheapest way to get from point A to point B.
Still, Easy Taxi serviced was promised to be in operation, back in 2017. Seems like Taxi Association had a lot of time to prepare for Pathaocars, yet they chose procrastination over everything else.
Honestly, I am quite not satisfied with Pathao’s “Service Charge”. And, I hope the company tries to make it a more resoanble in the future. However, we should remember that thanks to Pathaocars, we go such a detailed insight on how the cab industry works in Nepal.
Sure, the Taxi Association is pissed off. Maybe they could use it as a catalyst to improve their service along with the app.
But, the important question is, will they?
Plus, let’s not forget that Taxi Association had time, they were the sole in-charge for a long time. Yet, whenever they felt that the competition was too tough, they’d throw in the towels calling it unfair. Plus, every single time, they chose ‘protest’ as an answer to their problem.
Well, that might’ve worked before. But things are different now.
Anyways, that’s everything you need to know about Pathocars and their situation… for now. Let’s end it on a conversation, I know, we’ve all heard before.
“Dai, Maitidevi jane ho?”, asks a Hardworking Consumer.
“Kati dine?”, replies a crooked Taxi Driver.
“Testo hudaina, meter mai jum.”
“Meter ma jadina. Arko taxi khojnus”
Well, things are yet to be unraveled. Moreover, the battle between Pathao and Taxi Association is just getting started, and the things might get even more complicated in the future.
Don’t worry, we’ll report more as the situation progresses. Stay tuned!