How sharing rides has unleased employment opportunities for women in Pakistan?

Pakistan | 2018

Objective: enable consumers to share rides along popular routes, and to enable businesses to share freight capacity in trucks

Hassam Ud-din is applying circular economy thinking to address a common scarcity in South Asia’s burgeoning cities: affordable, efficient transport. Despite only 17% car ownership, Pakistan’s cities often face acute traffic jams and congestion, generating enormous amounts of pollution. At the same time, most cars and trucks on the road operate at 30% capacity, leaving 70% capacity up for grabs.

Ud-din’s solution comes in the form of an app called RASAI, which allows for peer-to-peer sharing of a vehicle’s extra space and seats, offering inter-city ridesharing and delivery capabilities. Meanwhile, freight transport vehicles can use the app to provide spare cargo space at low cost, enabling small businesses like farmers to bring their goods to market at lower cost and higher convenience. As a winner of the Asia Pacific Low Carbon Lifestyles Challenge, Hassam Ud-din received a $10,000 grant from UNEP, business and marketing training from global experts, and the opportunity to pitch to win an additional US$10,000 prize to further augment his business.

Share economy business models are often supporting circular economy because they reduce the need for additional goods and services by optimising the value of the existing stock.

His most loyal customers? Women as many of them don’t drive in Pakistan. Using the app, women can easily share rides with other women, dramatically reducing the cost of going to work. Often, the cost of taxis is beyond peoples’ means, and public transport options are limited and can be unreliable and time consuming. This situation is limiting their employment options to places near home or easier transport routes. For people in this situation, the app also helps identify the most efficient route through a mix of formal and informal transport systems, reducing the time and guesswork of commuting.

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