ISLAMABAD (dpa-AFX) – In Pakistan there is a rental service for small electric scooters for the first time. For a few days, men and women in the capital Islamabad have been able to use the services of a start-up via app. “We wanted to offer this bike-sharing service in Pakistan as a cheap, convenient and environmentally friendly service for the common man,” says Syed Mohammad Hadi, managing director of the start-up Roamer Technologies in Islamabad.
The company has ambitious goals. More than 2000 of the moped-like electric scooters are to be deployed in Islamabad over the next 12 months. How many of them are already in Islamabad, the entrepreneur of the loan service “ezbike” does not want to say. The investments are high, says Hadi. The 40-year-old relies on donors from England and the Gulf States and hopes for investments in the millions.
The rental service works similarly to electric scooters in Germany, via app. The app has already been downloaded 15,000 times. Motorcycles and scooters are part of the cityscape in Pakistan. Hadi is hoping for many users who do not have their own vehicle. The price is an incentive. A ride on the small electric scooters costs five Pakistani rupees per minute (around three cents). Taxi rides are significantly more expensive in Pakistan.
The government is also convinced of the concept, says Malik Amin Aslam, prime minister’s advisor on climate issues: “Pakistan’s transition to e-mobility is inevitable given the huge benefits for consumers who get cheaper means of transport”. EV rental services are just the beginning of a massive transition to cleaner and cheaper modes of transportation, Aslam said.
According to the telecommunications authority, around 85 million people in the South Asian country have smartphones. With an estimated population of more than 210 million people, that’s almost 40 percent. The app doesn’t work on all older smartphones, admits Hadi. Nevertheless, the entrepreneur believes in the potential of the loan service in the country. The start-up also wants to gain a foothold in the large metropolises of Lahore and Karachi./arb/qzr/DP/fba