Mobile apps have transformed everything from finance to food delivery to transportation. Ride-sharing giants like Careem and Uber have signaled in a new era of travel.
However, the rates have been increased for riding in Uber and Careem due to which the people face trouble in terms of economy and at such a point, another technological entrant in the riding apps has surprised everyone specifically for being economical. A new ride-sharing initiative called Airlift has gained significant attention. Airlift’s unique model utilizes Toyota Coasters and Toyota Hiace Grand Cabin vans with 12-22* seats on various high demand routes. Airlift currently operates in Lahore and Karachi only.
This unique system allows users to “pool” together on a single vehicle, to and from common pick-up and drop-off points such as famous landmarks, malls, offices, and bus stops.
It would be neglectful not to mention the potential Airlift has as a tool for easing traffic congestion by combining passengers along similar routes. Unlike other public transport options, Airlift promises you a seat (which can be booked in advance), air conditioning that works, and live tracking that allows you to stay well-informed of your vehicle’s actual movements. Moreover, the use of a single-vehicle by a dozen users at a single time will have a positive impact on the environment of one of the most polluted cities in the world.
How to Book a ride on Airlift?
Upon downloading the app, you will be given 5 or 6 free rides to try out the service, which is a nice gesture. You can reserve a seat on your chosen route that would pick you up about 0.5 kilometers away from work, and drop off around 2 kilometers from near to home. The booking process is seamless and you will receive a confirmation number instantly.
However, users should be aware that bookings can be made up to 15 minutes before the route time; but in most cases the entire vehicle is booked out an hour or so before. Make sure to keep up with the schedule and timely booking of the ride.
About 15 minutes before the designated arrival time of the “Airlift”, you will receive an SMS reminder, which is a fantastic idea to save time and keep users appraised of their vehicle’s movements.
Reach at the stop timely and check for the vehicle number so that there remains no chance for you to miss it. As soon as the bus arrives, make sure to step in and call out your registration code you were being notified for while booking the ride and call your name as well for the driver to keep a check that all those riders are getting inside who got their rides booked with that bus.
The vehicle is in good shape, seats were comfortable, and the air conditioning was on. The van moves right on time, and throughout the journey, all stops are reached within a minute or two of the scheduled time. At its peak, the van carried 10 people, split evenly between men and women. The payment for Airlift is made through the app. Users have the options of buying various packages through their credit or debit cards; each ride costs Rs 50.
What are the Improvements Required for the Service?
- To start with, the app needs a bit of tweaking to work better. While the map integration and vehicle tracking is spot on, the UI is not as friendly or intuitive as it should be.
- There is no listing of all the routes operated by Airlift and at times, search results will not show all of the available routes.
- Moreover, search results are not sorted by order of time (earliest to latest or vice versa), and cannot be sorted by distance to pick-up point.
- There is also no route map to pick and choose from, which should be a necessity for any public transport network.
- Airlift currently does not run on weekends, but maybe that is something the firm itself would not bank on.
- Another factor that should be stressed upon is the establishment of a dedicated helpline. Pakistani consumers, tech savvy or not, are more comfortable when they are able to access and speak to another human, even if it is for simple inquiries such as timing, payment methods, etc.
Airlift is an excellent way to get around for a fraction of the cost of other ride-sharing services. The fact that you have a guaranteed seat and will be more or less on time (save a couple of minutes here and there), along with air conditioning vehicles place it levels above the existing public transport system. All in all, it is an excellent choice for commuters and students (over 16) alike, as long as you can get to/from the designated points with ease.
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