Careem is facing howls of protest by the furious-public on social media after their fares increased drastically on the occasion of Eid. Careem aimed to incentivize captains at the cost of ‘cruel’ rates they offered to their customers on Eid, to make captains stay online and accept Careem bookings at busy times. The peak factor on the festivals and special occasions is nothing out of the world, they are usually applied due to increased demand, but the wide range of surcharge their ‘automated’ system offered to customers is hard to digest.
Moreover, the peak factor at the time, when the app was showing ample of cars nearby pick up location has turned out to be an impetus to public anger as it crosses the ‘supply-demand’ phenomenon provided by Careem as the justification.
Three days of Eid was no way less than a nightmare for Careem customers in Karachi. A Careem customer shared his harsh experience with us on the 2nd day of Eid, she booked a ride from Karachi University to Aladin Park which usually costs around 140-160, she was stunned to pay over 400 rupees for a ride of just under 6 kilometres as she suffered from peak factor of 3.1x. The fare from Airport to DHA Phase II was as high as over 1200 rupees. The overcharging was not restricted to Eid days, the adversities of Careem customers continued as the city had rainfall for a couple of days after Eid. The rain made fares, even more, higher than that was in Eid days. Careem was well-accompanied by Uber in this ‘rain-oriented’ swindle. Uber was also observed estimating around 1400 to 1600 rupees for the rides within the city.
The peak factors were somehow justifiable to an extent if it would have been restricted to Eid days or couple of rainy days. The public hopes of getting rid of peak factor after weekend got crushed by the 24/7 peak factor on the weekdays. On Tuesday, a customer complaint about extreme overcharging, She paid around 1000 rupees for the route from Sindhi Muslim Society to Federal B Area via Ziauddin Hospital, the route usually costs her 300 at maximum. The mounted fares with ample of available cars and routine traffic caused a public outburst on the management. People accused Careem of using peak factor as their permanent feature to overcharge customers.
Apart from the recent surcharging issue, Careem and Uber has a long list of flaws that turned their customers to the other side of the fence, from standing with these cabbies against the government’s verdict to regulate them a few months ago to demand regulatory authorities to take actions against them.
According to some sources, due to frequent change in policies by Careem and Uber, several captains and vendors are on strike. This might be one the reason of current lapse. However, it is inevitable for both the organisations to not only normalise the rates but also address the increasing complaints about captains’ behaviour and other mismanagements in order to recuperate the previous flaws and to regain the customers’ confidence.