In recent years, the advent of technology has reshaped the way people move and receive services, and one prominent player in this transformation is Pathao. Founded in 2015, Pathao has rapidly emerged as a leading ride-sharing and on-demand delivery platform, offering innovative solutions to transportation and logistical challenges in densely populated urban areas, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.
Origins and Growth
Pathao, which means “send” or “transfer” in Bengali, was founded by Hussain M Elius and Shifat Adnan in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The company’s initial focus was to address the growing transportation woes faced by the residents of congested cities. With an initial emphasis on motorbike ride-sharing, Pathao quickly gained traction by offering an affordable and efficient alternative to traditional modes of transportation.
Nepal’s Path to Pathao
At the age of 35, Asheem Man Singh Basnyat wears the hat of a regional director at Pathao, a ride-hailing app based in Bangladesh. Interestingly, this app also made its way to Nepal thanks to the efforts of Basnyat and six of his friends. It was officially started on September 25, 2018, in Kathmandu. Now the company size is 201-500 employees. Its office is in Mid-Baneshwor.
The spark behind creating a ride-sharing app ignited in Basnyat’s mind during the Indian economic blockade of 2015/16. Back then, he played the role of a real-life hero by offering carpool rides to many people in need. After the blockade ended, things returned to normal, but the concept of a ride-hailing company stuck with him. Following the blockade period, Basnyat briefly worked with a multinational company that was gearing up to launch Uber, another big ride-sharing service, in Nepal. However, due to unforeseen reasons, Uber never took off in Nepal, and Basnyat found himself with six months of free time on his hands.
During this break, he stumbled upon the story of Pathao, a ride-sharing success in Bangladesh. Intrigued, Basnyat initiated a conversation with them. Despite Pathao not being keen on expanding to Nepal, Basnyat’s persistence and determination shone through. He managed to secure investments for Pathao Nepal from the USA, a feat that took about ten months to accomplish. While this might sound like a long time, in the world of app launches, it’s actually quite reasonable.
Pathao faced its share of challenges initially, especially when it came to attracting investors. However, the tables turned, and the company now boasts institutional investors from various places including Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the USA.
The journey of bringing Pathao to Nepal is a tale of determination, seizing opportunities, and transforming challenges into successes. Asheem Man Singh Basnyat’s efforts have not only enriched the ride-sharing landscape in Nepal but also demonstrated the power of turning innovative ideas into reality.
Pathao’s journey began with motorbike ride-sharing, enabling passengers to reach their destinations swiftly through the congested streets of urban centers. The platform’s user-friendly app allowed users to request rides, track their drivers in real-time, and make cashless payments, thus enhancing convenience.
Recognizing the potential to expand its services further, Pathao subsequently ventured into other domains. The introduction of car ride-sharing extended the company’s reach to a wider audience, catering to diverse preferences and travel needs. Additionally, Pathao diversified into on-demand food delivery, bringing meals from local restaurants directly to customers’ doorsteps. This expansion not only benefited consumers but also contributed to the livelihoods of drivers and delivery personnel associated with the platform.
Ride-Sharing Safety Coverage
Moreover, Pathao Nepal Pvt. Ltd. has gone beyond ride-sharing to prioritize user safety. The company recently partnered with Everest Insurance Company to provide insurance coverage to its customers and riders. Effective from Poush 8, 2077, the insurance offers coverage of Rs. 5,00,000 in the unfortunate event of death or physical disability due to an accident during a ride, with an additional provision of up to Rs. 100,000 for medical treatment in case of accidents. Claims must be made within 30 days of the accident, following the insurance company’s guidelines. Ride-Sharing Safety Coverage is not for the offine Pathao. This inclusive safety initiative underscores Pathao’s commitment to the well-being of its app users.
In the absence of insurance coverage earlier, unfortunate incidents highlighted the vulnerability of both riders and passengers. Injol Shrestha’s experience serves as a poignant example. On what was supposed to be a pivotal day in his career, a Pathao motorcycle ride ended in a life-altering accident. The collision left Shrestha with severe injuries to his neck, head, and legs. Shockingly, his attempts to seek assistance from Pathao were met with refusal, as the company denied liability for the damages. Even the rider involved in the accident became unresponsive. Shrestha, burdened with substantial hospital bills, was forced to borrow money to cover his treatment expenses, revealing a distressing gap in the safety net for both riders and passengers.
An increase in offline service usage has raised security red flags.
While the allure of higher earnings might be tempting, some riders have chosen to provide offline services, which introduces security risks. The offline usage of ride-sharing apps, particularly prominent in Kathmandu Valley where Pathao operates, has added complexity to ensuring passenger safety. The attraction lies in the ability for both riders and passengers to maximize profits and minimize costs respectively. The trend is especially evident in areas like Sundhara, Tripureshwor, Chabahil, Gongbu Bus Park, Koteshwor Chowk, Kalanki, and Balkhu Chowk, particularly during the evenings and nights.
This rise in offline usage comes at a cost — both in terms of security and operational integrity. Riders opting for offline methods bypass the commission fees usually paid to the ride-sharing company. Patho takes 20% of the commission. On the other hand, passengers, faced with situations like low battery or limited mobile data, sometimes opt for offline transactions due to time constraints. This convergence of factors has triggered a surge in offline use, often sacrificing the very features that make ride-sharing services appealing in the first place that is insurance coverage and tracking the ride.
Ensuring security in every aspect of these services should be a top priority to preserve the trust and benefits these platforms offer.
In a span of just a few years, Pathao has transformed the way people move and access services in crowded urban environments. By leveraging technology, the platform has provided solutions to transportation and delivery challenges, offering convenience, efficiency, and economic opportunities to both service providers and users. As Pathao continues to evolve and adapt to changing dynamics, its story remains a testament to the power of innovation in reshaping traditional industries.