If I told you that Sri Lanka Telecom launched a ride-hailing service called SLT Muve, what would your reaction be? Well, mine was confusion mixed with a little curiosity. Here was a Telecom Operator venturing into the ride-hailing industry. Launched on the 10th of June 2019, SLT Muve is almost an infant in the ride-hailing industry of Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, ever curious to see what it had to offer, I decided to ta ke it for a spin (pun intended).
Signing Up for SLT Muve
Signing up for SLT Muve is quite simple. You can sign up with either your Facebook, Twitter or Google credentials. In my testing, signing up with Google didn’t seem to work so I chose to simply create a new account.
After entering in my phone number, I was asked to enter a PIN number to confirm verification. The PIN arrived via text message. From there, I filled in my other details and was ready to start using SLT Muve. The first thing I noticed was that the interface is pretty standard with nothing out of the ordinary.
Hailing a ride with SLT Muve
Currently, you can choose to ride in a car or a van. For cars, you get your choice of Pop, Biz and Lux. What this essentially means is that the akin to Uber and PickMe’s vehicle options, you can choose the budget (Pop), mid-range (Biz) or luxury range (Lux) depending on the occasion.
So if you just want a ride to get from A to B, a Pop vehicle will suit you perfectly. If you’re going for an important function, then the Biz or Luxury category will also do. But do bear in mind that these get more expensive as well. If you are in need of a vehicle to take more than 4 passengers, you can opt for the Max option which is an SUV or a van, depending on availability.
Speaking of availability, SLT Muve vehicles are actually commonly available during the morning and afternoon hours. I found that they tend to be a tad unavailable towards evening and late at night. When booking a ride, all you need to do is enter the pickup and drop off locations. This can be done either by typing in the address or by selecting it from the map (which in this case is powered by Google Maps).
After booking a ride, you’re taken to a confirmation window. This shows details such as the pickup and drop-off location, along with the date and time of the ride as well. An estimated fare is also shown. In addition, your details such as name, email, contact number and payment methods are also shown.
Once the ride has been confirmed, there’s a countdown of about 40 seconds. This is to wait for a driver to accept. One thing I liked about SLT Muve is that it shows the details of the driver and the vehicle even before they accepted the ride.
As for payment methods, while the SLT Muve app has options for paying via Credit/Debit cards and even a digital wallet, only the cash option is available. This was rather unfortunate for me as I sometimes don’t carry cash with me and rely on card payments.
How does SLT Muve fare against the competition?
This is the all-important question. It’s the make it or break it for SLT Muve. For my test, I chose one destination and compared the rates for PickMe, Uber and SLT Muve. Here’s what I found out. Since both PickMe and Uber have budget options, I limited my comparisons to what SLT Muve has to offer.
While the results are not quite decisive, it would appear that SLT Muve indeed does have value for money in terms of travelling. Even If I took a PickMe Buddy which would cost me LKR 231, the Muve’s Pop was cheaper by around LKR 50. UberZIP, on the other hand, traded blows with SLT Muve for the Pop category but outperformed it in the higher ranges. So overall, Uber seems to have the upper hand when comparing all three platforms.
Is SLT Muve worth it then?
Well, that remains to be seen. SLT Muve is moving into a highly competitive market with Uber, PickMe and other services such as the newly relaunched Taxiya and other services such as Yogo Taxi, Kangaroo cabs and a plethora of others. If you travel by Tuk though, UberTUK still retains the crown for being the most affordable, even compared to PickMe’s Budget Tuk option.
In addition, the fact that you can’t pay by card was a loss for me. As I said, I sometimes travel with only bus fare in my wallet so the ability to pay by card is a big plus for both PickMe and Uber. Perhaps SLT Muve can implement the feature soon.
Overall, it’s interesting to see a new player in the market. While they don’t exactly bring anything new to the table yet, it will be intriguing to see what they have to offer for customers if they are looking to make a name for themselves. You can download SLT Muve for Android and iOS
Have you used SLT Muve? What are your thoughts on it? We would love to hear from you.