Pakistan’s home-grown car-pooling solution Savaree has been on a roll in the recent past. From announcing a web-based and even an off-the-web hotline service to announcing veteran entrepreneur & consultant Ahmed Khan as CEO, Savaree has come a long way since its inception at Lahore Civic Hackathon in 2014. And for the startup, forward seems the way to go in light of recent announcements.
Savaree recently published a new app for its Android users which comes with a completely redesigned interface and plenty of new features. A user is greeted by a minimal sign-on screen. Next up is a simple, tile-based menu with the major options of Rideshare, Events, Pick & Drop, and Savaree Cab. An info icon within each tile displays a quick tip about that specific menu entry which is a decent addition for first-time users.
A new user can sign-up for the service using Facebook to avoid the hassle of filling out extraneous fields, though they still have to verify their account via phone number before they can enjoy all the features offered by the app. Other methods of the verification of a user are by their National ID Card (NIC), their organizational e-mail account.
Trips can now be labelled as ‘Recurring’ and/or ‘Round-trip’ as well to avoid multiple entries from the same poster. Vehicle details and picture can now be added alongside posting a ride. Within a user’s personal profile, one can modify their preferences (allows smoking, pets, etc.), cover photo, and other details.
Other features introduced with the new app include the ability to chat with other users, and ‘Events’ which let users book or post a ride with people who are looking to attend the same event. Intuitively, such a feature should display a list of events around the user’s vicinity, but that’s not what’s happening in the app (although this selection can be done in the web-based UI). Another new feature is Savaree Cab, however we are not sure how exactly will that fit in with Savaree’s very own tagline of ‘It’s not a cab’.
Savaree promises to introduce community engagement features in the future which will provide incentives for users to join and provide a good service. iOS and Windows Phone versions of the app have also been a long time coming now, and cannot be announced at a better time.
Startups like Tripda which are backed by the e-commerce giant Rocket Internet are the main source of competition for Savaree in the local carpooling scene. Unlike the case of Rocket Internet’s other ventures in Pakistan, the fact that Savaree and Tripda were launched only months apart also doesn’t help either of them.
Savaree seems to have taken a leaf out of Tripda’s book with its latest profile and ride customization features, and in the face of mounting competition, it will have to move up a gear in regards to localization and offer unique features to gain a mainstream adoption.
Download the new Savaree app here and do leave a comment below on what you think about it.