Damn! I just realized that my last blogpost here, too, was about Tootle. Do you know what does that mean? That means I’ve been getting hella lazy these days ‘cos that post is now three month old.
So alchhi of me!
Anyway, I am not going to be talking about why I haven’t been able to put out more content these days because you’ve read the title of this post already and that’s what you want to read about. Right? Of course.
If you don’t know already, the Metropolitan Traffic Police started detaining motorcyclists associated with two wheeler ride-sharing companies, Tootle and Pathao, in Kathmandu. The reason? “We have received numerous complaints about the services provided by these companies,” said Jay Raj Sapkota, the spokesperson at the traffic police division, in an interview with the Kathmandu Post.
“Questions were also raised about whether or not they were operating legally. We consulted with our colleagues at the Department of Transport Management who informed us that none of these companies is duly registered and that their operation is completely illegal.”
What makes the ride-sharing business ‘illegal’ is the 26-year-old provision under the Department of Transport Management Act that bans use of private vehicles for transport services. Yep, a provision that’s older than many of you folks reading this right now.
A lot of things changed in all these years in Nepal but not some laws that try to throw us back to the stone age. Anyway, who am I to talk about such complicated stuff. I don’t know shit. But what I know for sure is that Tootle has made my life a little more convenient.
I wasn’t around when the startup commenced its services two years ago. But when I returned to Nepal last year, it didn’t take me much to get used to this awesome thing they have named Tootle.
The mobile phone application has become my most used app whenever I am in Kathmandu, because it’s easy to use and the rides don’t cost you a lot. I was in the capital last month and I had to go to Pepsicola from Gongabu. It was like 7:30 PM and I did what I had to do – get a Tootle ride. The app told me that the fair would be Rs. 250ish (I don’t remember exactly) and I thought it was pretty expensive as the most I had paid so far was around 150. (Please don’t judge me, I am not familiar with Kathmandu much. I don’t know the distances between places.)
So yeah, just to make sure I asked a cabbie how much he would charge to get me there and he said “tadha chha bhai, 800 ma milayera lagdiula ni’. And it was that moment when I realized it’s foolish to ever have doubts about Tootle fair. I am sorry, senpai.
The startup recently launched its services in Pokhara, too. I have used it here only once and it was two weeks ago when I had to go to Ram Bazar from Mahendra Pul. I tried to book a ride and it took quite a while for a rider to accept it, which I was prepared for as it had only been few days since this thing was started here and I know there aren’t many ‘partners’ yet.
A guy arrived like half an hour later and I hopped on his scooter. He told me that he came to pick me all the way from Zero KM and he was about to go to bed when he got a call from Kathmandu office to complete this particular ride. It was – what do I call it – sweet, I guess. I mean it’s good to know that there are companies that actually do care about their customers. Otherwise why would they bother calling a ‘partner’ who is 200 kilometres away at 7:45 PM (their services run till 8) to accept the ride and go pick me up from Mahendra Pul, drop me at Ram Bazar and go back to his place — all for just 70 bucks. Because it’s not just about money, it’s about not letting your customers down.
Also, I love the fact that they are giving this opportunity to thousands of people to earn themselves some good money. I have this weird habit of asking the Tootle partners about their journey with this platform. I am sure they get annoyed and I should stop being such a douchebag. But this is what I do. I interview people.
So there was this partner who told me that he is currently studying IT in Kathmandu. He is originally from Syangja and the money he is making from Tootle is helping him manage his expenses. The other guy that gave me a ride was a chef whose restaurant had recently closed down. He was looking for options and in the meantime, started giving rides. He said the platform is helping him when he is in dire need of money.
Tootle has been helping a lot of people in lot of ways. And I am sure Pathao, too, has been doing a good job. I haven’t used it yet, though. I just hope they get everything sorted and get back to doing what they do best.