About a year and a half ago, foreign ride sharing platform Indrive was launched in Nepal. The popularity of Indrive, which has its head office in California, USA, is increasing in Nepal. So far, commission has not been taken from the drivers. The company plans to take commission only after registration.
With this, through the Real Time Deals (RTD) model that the company has imposed; passengers can set fares for their chosen routes and send counter offers directly from nearby drivers. That is why it is different from other platforms.
To know more about the company, cause behind the delay of the registration, company's working mechanism, users intensity Sneha Jha from ICT Samachar had a talk with Roman Ermoshin ; Director of Asia Pacific region of InDrive.
You have been working as the director of the Asia Pacific region of Indrive. What is the condition of Indrive in Nepal?
Currently, Indrive is the largest mobility platform in Nepal. Indrive is working very well in Kathmandu and outside the valley we have expanded to Pokhara and Bharatpur.
We launched InDrive in the second quarter of last year. Since then, the company has managed to achieve great success.
Thousands of rides are happening on our platform every day. With the increase in the number of passengers, many drivers have also joined Indrive. We are getting positive feedback from passengers. The company has achieved quite a phenomenal success in Nepal.
Compared to other countries, Nepal's market is small. So, why did Indrive choose Nepal as its target business area?
Although Nepal is a small country in terms of area, it has a population of about 30 million. 30 million is not a very small demographic area. That is why Nepal cannot be called a small country. We always look for emerging markets.
Even though consumers need service in developing areas, big companies do not want to come because the market is small. But we never think like that. We came to Nepal and started serving. We came to Nepal seeing the potential. We have not demanded any kind of commission from the drivers.
Nepal's information technology sector is growing rapidly, due to which users are eager to use new apps and technologies every day. Because of that, InDrive is also running successfully. There are many users who use InDrive every day.
The number of drivers and passengers is also increasing rapidly. We are grateful. For this reason, Nepal's market cannot be called a small area for mobility platforms.
Is InDrive legally registered in Nepal?
This is an ever-present question. Our aim is to operate legally, regardless of the area of the world where we work. As soon as InDrive was launched in Nepal, we started the registration process. We have already submitted the application last year.
We are fully engaged in obtaining legal recognition on our behalf. Then we take commission from Nepali rider and also pay tax to government. Government support is important for legal registration in Nepal. The company is expected to be legally registered by the end of this year.
Have you faced any kind of obstacle while operating InDrive in Nepal?
I always feel that Nepali society is good and open-minded. We have not felt any kind of bad reaction or behavior from the Nepalese people. Sometimes the drivers have to face problems from the police.
The company is not registered in Nepal, so, our drivers have been stopped from time to time stating they cannot work under an unregistered company. But the drivers have gotten very familiar with our technology. That's why they don't want to leave this platform. They have made it a source of good income.
So far, we have not faced any major obstacles or problems, but if we don't get registered soon, surely various ministries can raise question marks.
When you initially launched InDrive, you said that you would not take any kind of commission for 6 months and then take some percentage ? It has been more than 6 months since the company started to operate. Has Indrive started taking commission from drivers?
We still haven't taken any kind of commission from the drivers. So far, our platform has been completely free for all users. It has been operating without commission for more than a year and a half. After registration, we will probably start taking some percentage commission, which will not be more than 10%.
After registration the company has to pay tax to the local government, we will take a minimum commission for the tax and to make the app better. As the commission will be low, the consumer will not be inconvenienced. The commission will be less compared to other competing ride sharing platforms.
How is Nepal's ride sharing trend different from other countries?
The biggest differencethat we have observed in Nepal is that most transactions are based on cash. In other Asian countries, most of the payments are made through e-wallet or card. But in Nepal, travelers prefer to pay in cash. For this, we are also in discussion with local online payment systems. The other difference that we found was the use of electric vehicles for rides in Nepal is also very low.
It is also important for the government to work for this, because not only the sale of electric vehicles, but also the development of the necessary infrastructure such as the construction of charging stations is very important. It will also play a role in pollution control.
As electricity is cheaper than petrol, it can be a cost-effective option. Bike ride sharing is being used the most as there is a lot of traffic jam in Kathmandu. In other countries cab sharing is more common but in Nepal bike is more comparatively used. If the government pays good attention to the construction of roads, it would be easy to connect one city to another.
About how many rides are done by Indrive every day?
The number of rides can be affected by various reasons. Weather, traffic and festivals increase and decrease the number of rides, but in average there are 50,000 rides per day in Kathmandu alone. Globally, more than 4 million rides are done on our platform every day. Having so many rides from the same platform is a big deal in itself.
Currently, InDrive has emerged as a popular ride sharing platform in Nepal. But, there are other ride sharing platforms in the market as well. How do you see the competition?
Talking about the global market, new ride sharing platforms are coming every week in a country like India. But we are different from other ride sharing platforms as our business model is different from others. We work only as a technology between the driver and the passenger, so the passenger and the driver can negotiate and set a fixed price.
We provide bargaining tools to both parties. This has made it different from other ride sharing platforms in Nepal. Competition is always good because it helps us to evolve and improve. We have taken the aim of serving the consumers for a long time by taking the competition positively.