The Uber of Nepal running on two wheels

The struggle of finding a public vehicle and having to rely heavily on carpooling during the prolonged fuel crisis in the past year has left scars on the lives of many people in Nepal.  The concept of carpooling as a temporary solution was immensely well received at that time. Building on a similar platform, but with some monetary perks, an uber equivalent ride-sharing system has recently sprung to life and it’s called Tootle.

Are you fed up with public transportation in the capital?  Does hauling a cab leave a dent in your wallet? Do you ride around your bike/scooter alone?  Do you commute regularly within the city? If any of these questions seem relevant, you ought to try out Tootle. Tootle is a startup based in Nepal that matches Tootle users (those seeking a ride) with Tootle Partners (those willing to give you a ride on their motorbikes/scooters), so that you can be dropped off at your preset destination from your current location for a predefined amount of fare, which is very low compared to the fares charged by Kathmandu taxis.  It’s that simple.

Sixit Bhatta, Co-founder and CEO of Tootle, reflects on the early days of Tootle - “The project started out of boredom. Tootle came to being by transforming what was originally a location based tracking app for Sajha buses. Since that didn’t go too far, we thought of converting it into a ride sharing application using the same tech.” Humbled but equally ambitious, Bhatta recognizes the nature of his startup and sees the challenges in the project. With warm response from the youth of today, he knows there is a long way to travel and bigger visions to achieve. Right now, his concern is on smoothing out the operations and improving on what is already there.

With an under-a-minute registration that requires nothing more than your name, email and phone number, Tootle is a welcoming app with little hassle. Once signed up, showcasing the Google Maps API front, you can start booking rides by inserting your current location (through the phone’s GPS) and destination. The app allows you to set a gender preference on your pick up too. After setting up location, you’ll instantly be notified the fare which can either be paid through Tootle balance or cash. As users, an internet connection is mandatory until acceptance of your ride request.  And Tootle partners, are required to stay connected to the internet through mobile data for tracking purposes.

With youngsters picking up technology with less resistance, Tootle is gaining its fair share of popularity and growing on its user base on the youth front. Gunjan Dixit, currently associated with Katha Ghera says, “It’s been convenient by far considering the fact that I don’t own a vehicle of my own.” She adds, “The fact that it’s a two wheeler service makes it an efficient means to reach my destination and works pretty well for the Kathmandu traffic. Yes, it’s slightly expensive than public transportation but it’s well within my budget and I’ve been very happy with the service and have been recommending it amongst my peers.”

Likewise, another youth, Ritesh Poddar, a recent graduate from Kathmandu College of management, who recently sought Tootle while his bike was under maintenance says, “The concept is pretty cool as it hits the sweet spot placing itself between the Rs 20 bus fare and the Rs 200 taxi with its own perks.” Rooting for the startup, he feels that the start has been strong and hopes for the app’s growth in the coming days resulting in faster ride acceptances upon a wider circle. In addition to the gender preference, a bike type preference is another filter that he is eagerly looking forward to arguing that certain users especially those in the adult category might not be comfortable with sporty bike models.

Although still in beta, and only available on the Google Play Store, Tootle has been one of the most talked about tech startups that is attempting to tackle the common problem of daily commuting across Kathmandu everyday.  Done right, the app could contribute to efficient means of transport, better utilization of two wheelers, and an extra bucks to spare for Tootle Partners. Excited about the days to come, Bhatta calls upon everyone to give it a try and see for themselves. According to him, there will be a host of new state of the art features and technologies that will be released soon.   

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Download ‘Tootle’ app from the Play Store today. Enjoy Tootling. Register today and get Rs 200 worth of Tootle Balance. Refer to your friends with your referral code.

If you want to be a Tootle Partner (Rider) instead, download ‘Tootle Partner’ from the Play Store