You must have heard of the Metropolitan Traffic Police Department’s (MTPD) crackdown on ride-sharing platforms such as Tootle or Pathao. One Tootle rider and four Pathao riders were booked until yesterday. Social media, our one stop opinion hub is already ablaze – some in support of the platforms, some justifying why a crackdown was necessary.
Aawaaj reached out to Ayush Karki, the Market Development Manager for Tootle, and heard their side of the story. His view?
“We are here to help people, we wish to provide mobility and access to Nepalis, and all concerns can be addressed through proper communication and dialogue. The government, the MTPD, and ride-sharing platforms should all address their issues. On behalf of the ride-sharing apps, we are here to better public transport, and we should be encouraged.”
Mr. Karki’s first remark was about how the government needs to make new provisions and adapt to the changing times. “Tootle and Pathao are ride-sharing platforms, just like Uber. We are here to dispel several transportation related problems which plague the commuter, and at competitive rates”, therefore, the government with proper research and in keeping in mind the convenience and ease of the commuters needs to amend laws, and encourage start-ups like us which benefit the public.”. He went on to share insight on how ride sharing apps were helping commuters at odd hours and at odd places (where public transport is unavailable).
Speaking of Tootle’s contribution to society, he spoke of how Tootle has been helping reduce youth unemployment. He even shared the story of a migrant worker who changed his plans to return to Saudi Arabia after finding a better employment opportunity with Tootle. “Here is this person, so happy to be working in his home country, and being able to sustain his family’s life because of Tootle, I was humbled and ecstatic”, he shared his moment of pride with us. Tootle employs thousands of riders (figures of Pathao similar) who with the help of a motorcycle and some hard work are able to bring in extra income to the household. Recently Pathao also welcomed ‘differently abled’ riders as their riding partner, again opening up an employment opportunity for those who are physically restricted.
According to TechLekh, the arrests are being made because of a 1993 (2049 B.S.) law which prevents privately owned vehicles operation as ‘commercial’ vehicles. As mentioned by Mr. Karki, and maintained by Aawaaj, perhaps it is time to amend the laws and make new provisions to incorporate such platforms which benefit the public. Safety can be a concern, however, Tootle and Pathao boast of highly safe and reliable mode of transport. Certain measures can be enforced by the government to ensure the safety of the commuters, and registration of riders by the company as per the law could be a few suggestions.
These start-up companies are often entrepreneurship driven technological incorporative companies, which benefit the nation. It perhaps would benefit the government to work together with such problem solving ideas – after all they help their own citizens.