In Pakistan fuel prices are rising every week for past five weeks which has caused many people to think of alternate ways to cut down the cost of daily transport. As petrol prices have spiked to a record high of Rs248 per litre which is a 66 percent increase within a month, numerous Pakistani workers wrestling with inflation are looking for other options, for example, public transports like buses, carts and even cycles just to save money.
Carpooling is also making a comeback as fuel prices skyrocket worldwide. For the easy access of carpooling, a 22-year old Pakistani graduate Mughira Irfan has developed and launched an app named “DriveLu” which allows fellow travellers to share a journey together while making some extra cash on the side. Within a few days of its launch, more than 6000 people already signed up to the app which means that people are looking for alternate options.
Mughira Irfan has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and he started working on the app two years back during his final years at Bahria University in Islamabad. With fuel prices at rise Irfan felt that it is the right time to launch the app which would be a step towards cheaper, safer and greener modes of transport in Pakistan. “Why use one car for one person when you can transport two to four people at once? Why not just carpool?” he said. “Ride-sharing will require fewer trips, less time, while also reducing traffic and cleaner air.
When he was asked that what made him develop this app, upon which he shared his experience telling that during his university days he didn’t have a car or bike and he felt uncomfortable travelling in local vans. H noticed standing at the bus stop so many empty cars with only the driver and this is when it occurred in his mind that what if they could take him along as they would make extra money and he would also get a comfortable ride. “DriveLu gives vehicle owners an easy and lucrative side hustle while making travel much cheaper for those who don’t own vehicles,” he said. “Fewer cars on the roads mean less traffic which will also help reduce our country’s carbon footprint and cut air pollution.”
Irfan has a small team which includes his brother and two friends who are working on different aspects of the app and the ride-sharing service is currently available in the twin cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi. DriveLu CEO Irfan says they are helping Pakistanis turn their vehicle into “an asset instead of a liability since you can rideshare wherever you go and earn money on the same route you travel every day.” The startup organizer says it’s simply the start and they intend to hit 1,000,000 clients toward the end of 2023 by bringing new advancements and friendly user experience to make the transportation frameworks more effective and solid.
The biggest concern when riding with such apps is security and trust issues regarding which Irfan explained that “we have incorporated a panic button in the app which anyone can press if they feel unsafe during a ride. It will alert us immediately and allow us to contact local authorities.” Moreover, the startup also plans to work with the national database authority NADRA to enhance the app’s security.
Several other companies have also introduced carpool services such as vCarpool, Carpoolyn, Carsea, and Ridely, mostly in the populated cities of Karachi and Lahore but Irfan says that thy are not afraid of competitors and ready to face all challenges as this service has immense potential for positive impact on society, environment and economy.