PickMe, the mobile taxi hailing service provider, crossed an important milestone in the New Year with a hundred-thousand customers registered and one million trip requests. The start-up company’s CEO Jiffry Zulfer says this number is far more than they anticipated and that the Company thanks the customers for responding so well to the app, which launched just half a year ago.
“Our goal is to achieve one million registered users within the year 2016, as we have plans to expand our services to the rest of the country. We are confident that we will be received with the same enthusiasm as Colombo, across the island,” he adds.
Sri Lanka’s very own start-up, ‘PickMe’ is a software solution developed on the Android, iOS and Windows platforms using GPS satellite and GIS technology, customised to meet the needs of the local taxi traveller.
The App, which can be downloaded free of charge to almost any Android, Apple or Windows smart phone, is built using GPS and GIS technology, allowing its users to connect with a taxi instantly. Passengers have a choice of a tuk, mini or car and will be able to view all available taxis within a 2km radius and hail one with just a click of a button.
The Company deploys 3000 vehicles on the roads of Colombo and its suburbs, and has been efficiently handling the Christmas and New Year season demand; so much so that there has been a lot of pressure in terms of supply. “As far as we’re concerned, this is good pressure, giving us a clear indication of how we should expand in the city of Colombo. More and more drivers with cars have applied to join our network and
we are going through the process of screening them thoroughly before getting them into the network,” says PickMe’s CEO.
One of the recent demand issues that PickMe is facing is the shortage of supply during peak hours. The reason for this, PickMe says, is that the drivers prefer working during non-peak hours since more fuel and time is burnt during peak times due to the traffic congestion, while the fare remains almost the same. The Company is currently in the process of coming up with various strategies to overcome this problem and one such is to introduce an incentive scheme through an automatic rate increase when taxis are in high demand during these hours, which is seen as a fair spur for the drivers to work during peak times.
With the holiday season bringing in many hire requests to destinations all over the island, PickMe has taken the initiative to also introduced flat fares for certain journeys; for example distances such as Colombo to Galle - offering the passenger a lower fee than what would have had to be paid for a regular metered ride. “We have been catering to a lot of immediate hires since we started but now there are a lot of later bookings coming in for long hires, which is a sign of our growing popularity” explains CEO Jiffry Zulfer, noting the ongoing trends for