LAHORE: It seems that global cab services operating in Punjab’s provincial capital are now gazing beyond their core business model and are diversifying their services in parallel transport mode.
Where the Middle East-based app Careem and the US-based Uber are competing in price, promotions and number of fleet to attract maximum travellers, the Turkish company Albayrak is targeting the inter-city travellers. In its most recent attempt, the company is in a process to start services for school kids under their A-taxi services in Lahore.
Albayrak Deputy Managing Director Ahmet Yildirim believes that their group now has a solid base in Lahore and understands the demand through proper market surveys, which the company often conducts to have a better understanding of new markets within the transport sector.
“The idea behind capturing the toddlers market is based on security concerns the parents have these days for a safe pick and drop for their kids from campuses,” Yildirim told The Express Tribune.
“We are hopeful for the success of our project, which will be launched soon as we are getting a great response and are currently defining routes for this service,” he added.
Albayrak Taxi or A-taxi started its operations from Lahore in February this year by introducing 100 cabs to cater to the city’s transport market.
The company is about to add another 40 cars to its fleet, hence expanding its fleet to 140 cabs, in a bid to compete with other taxi hailing apps.
Although the company has permission to operate its taxi service throughout Punjab, they are currently concentrating only on Lahore’s growing transport demand. For inter-city travel, the company has already started a Rent-a-Car service with 10 vehicles for delegations and executives.
Similarly the company has managed a fleet of 10 air-conditioned vans for their upcoming venture for toddlers. Yildirim said that both were initiated as pilot projects and expansion depends on the number of vehicles as per demand.
The company’s per kilometre charges are the highest than any other service operating in Lahore, i.e. Rs35 per km. Yildirim, however said that these rates enable the business to operate without any financial hitches.
“Albayrak charges Rs120 for first 3km, after four km we charge R35 per km. We don’t charge for waiting, per minute or any hidden costs, and it makes the difference,” Yildirim said, adding that one could see its fare and calculate per km rate of trip on taxi meters, which makes for a transparent way of travelling.
For their upcoming school van services, the company intends to charge around Rs3500 per month for a radius of 10km.
The company’s current policy is to own all vehicles and recruit drivers to have a control over the company’s operations in which safety and security of customers is on top priority, but Yildrim said that in future they might think of involving a third party to provide vehicles for them.
“I believe we are at a very satisfactory level and one of the main companies in this sector right now. With the number of our taxies, we are visible in the market,” he said adding that their company though not in loss needed further improvement.
Lahore’s market is growing and once people get used to such services, they will ask for more. “We are happy to serve the people of Pakistan and will like to continue our growth not in taxi service but in other sectors too.”
The writer is a staff correspondent
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2016.