Islamabad: Pakistan’s first fully electric bike service has finally begun in the capital city offering an affordable, fast and eco-friendly commute. The e-bike sharing service called “EZBike” has been launched by Islamabad-based startup Roamer Technologies.
Transforming urban mobility in Pakistan
“EZBike is leveraging digital technologies to transform the urban transportation in Pakistan in a healthy and environmentally friendly way, offering people a cost-effective and convenient commute” Mohammad Hadi, CEO of Roamer Technologies, told Gulf News. The service will help reduce air pollution, traffic congestion, improve accessibility and save fuel cost. It will be initially available in Islamabad only but within next months, the startup aims to increase the bike fleet and number of cities too. “Peshawar will be the next destination with Lahore and Karachi launch planned in the next phase” Hadi shared.
The bikes would be continually monitored to ensure safety as well as damage and theft protection. Bike riders are requested to carry their own helmets. The bikes would be thoroughly sanitised during the pandemic. In a COVID impacted world, “self-drive provides a safe way for people to move around while maintaining social distancing” the company CEO shared.
How to book the e-bike ride?
Islamabad citizens can pick up, ride and drop off bicycles at various points across the city. The dockless electric bikes will be initially parked outside Islamabad metrobus stations followed by office and residential areas. The entire experience from registration to booking and payment is digital. Travellers can simply locate and reserve an electric bike parked near them using the EZBike mobile app, ride to the destination and later park it in a designated zone.
How it works:
• Find the closest bike on the EZBike app
• Reserve and head to the bike
• Scan the QR code on the bike’s handle to unlock it
• Put on the helmet and go
• To end the ride, park it at any green zone and hit end ride.
Unlocking the bike only costs Rs.5 (Dh 0.11) and the ride charges are Rs.5 per minute. One of the useful features of EZBike is that riders can pause it to run errands while paying a reduced rate of Rs.2 per minute. EZBike has partnered with Jazz to provide connectivity and promote digital payments through JazzCash.
The e-bike sharing service was launched at National Incubation Center (NIC), which funds and supports promising startups, in a ceremony attended by Minister of IT, Syed Amin UI Haque and other officials. The launch of innovative facilities such as EZBike “is a proud moment for Pakistan. Electric vehicle technology is the biggest gamechanger for the mobility market and government will support startups that leverage this technology,” Minister Amin vowed. “Without creating new technologies in Pakistan, Pakistan cannot progress into the future”. He praised the role of NIC and Jazz xlr8 enabling startups to scale effectively.
Create jobs and attract investment
Besides improving urban mobility, the bike sharing initiative would help boost Pakistan’s electric vehicle industry, create jobs and attract investment. Roamer Technologies plans to deploy over 2,000 electric bikes within the next year and bring millions of dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Pakistan. The company partnered with China for the first fleet but assembled the e-bikes in Pakistan. However, “the bikes currently under production will be entirely made in Pakistan” Hadi told Gulf News.
Mobility is still a largely unsolved problem as only 10 per cent of Pakistan’s population own a vehicle, said the company chief, asserting that “Pakistan’s first electric bike service will offer tremendous value to middle-class Pakistanis while delivering huge social and economic impact to the country.”
Pakistani startup Roamer recently raised a six-figure seed investment from angel investors in UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK and Pakistan.