“If you don’t know about PickMe, don’t be offended; but are you even living in Sri Lanka?” Well, but that’s how one of my friends reacted when another said he hadn’t heard of PickMe. If you too fall into the same category; (don’t worry let’s keep it to ourselves) PickMe is our very own homegrown taxi hailing service.
PickMe is a technology developed by Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka (PVT) Ltd and yesterday they hosted the first ever press conference at their new home in Asoka Gardens. The main focus was to introduce several new updates of the app, with the killer one being the trilingual support. No matter whether you speak Tamil, Sinhala or English; PickMe has decided to come more close to you with the expansion of their language base.
Nevertheless being a very young startup to the industry, they have been successful to cater diverse user groups whether it be the lower end and all the way up to the higher end of the markets. Offering very competitive and affordable prices, they give you three options for your ride; Tuks, Minis or a Sedan.
The Press conference too was in all three languages and taking up the stage Mr. Jiffry Zulfer, the CEO of PickMe explained to us how PickMe revolutionized the industry. According to a survey conducted by them, they have been able to bring down the fuel wastage in taxis up to 50% with the help of their system. This is by reducing the amount of lost kilometers or millage where if an average taxi driver drives 5000 km per month, around 2000km of that is considered as the lost millage. This usually refers to the number of kilometers they will be going around the town looking for a hire and the distance a driver has to travel to pick up a client.
Moving on to the new additions; the main being trilingual language support, they rolled out several other features as well. The Business portal, although it was launched quite a few weeks back; it gives the opportunity to enterprises arrange transportation facilities for their employees. Another feature PickMe introduced is aimed at making their rides safer. Let’s say your sweetheart or your daughter has to come home late all alone, PickMe introduced an option called ‘ETA Sharing’ (which you can find at the bottom right corner of the app when you book a taxi); allows the passenger to share their live trip details with loved ones including the estimated time of arrival, pickup time and location, taxi details and the route taken.
Spoiler Alert: They are also planning to introduce cashless transactions very soon in the future. That means you will soon be able to pay for a PickMe with your credit card just like you do using Uber.
We also had Nishantha; a driver who shared his story with PickMe. He told us how PickMe had changed both his profession and his life. Nishantha who had been driving tuks for 10 years has been on board with PickMe for just 4 months. Speaking at the press conference he said, “PickMe has opened up several doors for me, now I know that I can earn this amount of money at the end of the month, by which I was able to get a loan and build my house.” He explained about the subscription that he pays to PickMe with an interesting apology; “Many spend money on cigarettes. If you buy 3 cigarettes per day; we spend a much lesser amount than that to earn a higher income”. A perfect example of the impact PickMe has had on the families of it’s drivers.
Answering a question raised up by a fellow journalist, by how they differentiate from their giant international competitor Uber, Jiffry replied; “What makes us so different is our technology, we have a live meter, whereas Uber doesn’t. We, in fact, provide our passengers with a live picture on how much he or she is going to spend. We don’t want to hide that information from them.” Furthermore, he added; “We understand the local consumers, what we want to and like to do is come up with a product that suits the Sri Lankan economy.” They are planning to expand to other parts of the island soon and currently the service is predominantly available in Colombo and Katunayake.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, the PickMe app is available to be downloaded for Android, iOS and Windows. In partnership with ReadMe, PickMe exclusively offers a 20% off on your first ride for new users. All you have to do is use the Promo Code: README. Valid for a year from today; so how about a road trip around Sri Lanka on a TukTuk?