Kathmandu: Ride-hailing services in Nepal are back into operation with the government easing the lockdown from Tuesday, June 22.
Since the country went into a lockdown on April 29 to curb the second wave of the pandemic, ride-hailing services, like many other sectors, were forced to stop their operation.
While the government is yet to lift the lockdown completely, it introduced the odd-even scheme allowing private vehicles to hit the roads.
Both Tootle and Pathao–two of the ride-hailing services operating in Nepal–have started operation, representatives from the companies confirmed to Nepal Live Today.
This comes as a relief to hundreds of youths who rely on ride-hailing services to sustain themselves and also to those who have relied on those services to move around. In recent years, an increasing number of people in Kathmandu have resorted to those services to travel, given the city’s chaotic public transportation system.
Tootle has over 50,000 riders associated with it and Pathao has around 75,000.
This comes as a relief to hundreds of youths who rely on ride-hailing services to sustain themselves and also to those who have relied on those services to move around.
“Although the number of customers is less at present since many sectors are still closed, I am getting fairly good numbers of customers,” Sprash Tamang, a Pathao rider, told Nepal Live Today. Tamang said that he provides his service to around 20 to 25 customers each day.
Asheem Man Singh Basnyat, regional director at Pathao, said that riders associated with Pathao have followed all the safety protocols set by the government. “We have mandated our riders to compulsorily put on masks and keep sanitizers with them,” he said.
Sixit Bhatta, CEO of Tootle, said that his company has instructed the riders to strictly follow safety protocols.
For riders like Tamang, the resumption of the service is welcome since it gives them an opportunity to make some money.
“I am earning around Rs. 2,000- 2,500 daily,” said Tamang. “It’s good to be back to work.”
While ride-hailing services are getting increasingly popular in Kathmandu, the companies have come under scrutiny for various issues including the insurance of the riders and safety of the customers. In December 2020, a number of Pathao riders protested against the company laying out a list of demands, including a reduction of ‘commission’ kept by the company from 20 percent to eight percent and that the riders should be insured. Their demands are yet to be met.