CNG-run auto-rickshaws join ride apps

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Several private companies, including 'Top II' and 'MUV Asia', will launch the app-based CNG-run auto-rickshaw services in the city from the next month onward, reports UNB.

Like cars and motorbikes, city dwellers can now enjoy the auto-rickshaw services using their smartphones.

Rokeya Prachi, communication director of 'TOP II', a developer company which introduced the app, 'Hellow', declared the opening of registration at a programme at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

She said that the company has already registered 500 CNG-run auto-rickshaw drivers for the service and trained them on how to use the app with the help of Dhaka Metropolitan CNG Auto-rickshaw Owners' Unity Council and the district unit of CNG Auto-rickshaw Workers Unity Council.

Claiming that the three-wheelers lost their popularity among commuters for charging excessive fares and drivers' poor treatment towards passengers, Prachi said the app will bring a change in the mentality of passengers through ensuring good service and the government-approved fare rate.

The company will also launch the ride-sharing motorbike and car services through the app in the future, she added.

With the approval of the draft of Ride Sharing Service Guideline, 2017 in the cabinet on Monday, the newly introduced app has brought the three-wheelers under this guideline.

The ride-sharing service will run its pilot service till 28 February and will start its activities officially from 1 March, Prachi said.

Smartphone users can avail themselves of the service by installing the 'Hellow' app from Google Play store and IOS App Store.

Stanley Shourov Rozario, operations manager of MUV Asia, told UNB that their company has already registered 50 CNG-run auto-rickshaws for introducing the on-demand service. Initially, Gulshan and Baridhara will come under the coverage of the service from 31 January, he said.

One can get a CNG-run auto-rickshaw at their doorstep from Gulshan and Baridhara areas through the mobile app and can go anywhere within the city, he said. "We'll bring other areas under the coverage in phases," Rozario said.

MUV Asia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with another company --Bike BD -- on Tuesday to develop collaboration starting with trials in the world of ride-hailing service in cities where on-demand service is expanding tremendously, he said.

The agreement was signed by MUV chief executive officer Fahad Ibna Wahab and Bike BD chief executive officer Shuvro Sen.

Uber, the largest mobile phone-based ride-sharing company in the world, was launched in Dhaka in November 2016 with private car service. After an overwhelming response both from commuters and drivers, the company started motorbike service from November last year.

Earlier, "Pathao" another ride-sharing company, started its operation by motorbikes several months ago than Uber.

Though there was criticism over the legality of ride-sharing service for lack of ride-sharing guidelines, the government took an initiative to formulate guidelines to legalise the service following overwhelming response both from commuters and drivers, and finally, the cabinet approved the draft of Ride Sharing Service Guideline, 2017 on Monday, said a ride-sharing company top official requesting anonymity.

"We welcome the government's intent and vision for redefining the urban mobility landscape in Dhaka and beyond. We, at Uber, are committed to bringing better mobility options for riders, economic opportunities for driver partners and contributing to the vision of a Digital Bangladesh," said an Uber spokesperson.

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