Careem introduces offline booking to counter internet outrage in Pakistan

Careem introduces offline booking to counter internet outrage in Pakistan

In response to the widespread internet outage in Pakistan, Careem, the popular online cab service, has taken a proactive step by introducing an alternate method for booking rides. The company has implemented an offline booking system through three dedicated helplines, specifically for customers in Karachi.

This new manual booking option is primarily targeted towards facilitating movement to and from essential locations such as educational institutions, hospitals, healthcare facilities, and airports. Careem has stated that customers in Karachi can now pre-book a ride up to 90 minutes in advance by sending a text message (SMS) or a message/voice note on WhatsApp.

To avail this service, customers are required to provide their formal request along with their registered name and phone number, which is associated with their Careem account. Additionally, the pickup and drop-off location details need to be included in the message.

However, it is important to note that these offline bookings will only be accepted in cash due to challenges posed by the suspension of mobile internet services. Careem has specified that this alternate method of booking rides is temporary and will remain operational until mobile internet services are restored.

READ MORE: Internet blockage halts app-based car and ride-sharing services in Pakistan

The decision by the Pakistani government to shut down internet services nationwide has had a profound impact on the operations of car and ride-sharing services. These platforms heavily rely on internet connectivity for facilitating bookings, matching drivers with passengers, and ensuring smooth operations.

Consequently, the internet shutdown has brought these services to a standstill, leaving thousands of users stranded without access to the convenient transportation options they rely on. Both drivers and passengers have been severely affected, facing disruptions in their daily routines and encountering difficulties in commuting.

For companies like Careem, the suspension of internet services has presented immense challenges. Their app-based services operate on digital platforms that require real-time connectivity to function efficiently. The sudden halt in internet services has disrupted their service provision, rendering them unable to serve their user base effectively.

This suspension not only impacts the revenue of ride-sharing companies but also affects the livelihoods of countless drivers who depend on the platform for their income. With the inability to connect with passengers and provide their services, drivers are experiencing financial hardships during this period of uncertainty.

READ MORE: Pakistan’s telecom sector faces billions in losses as internet suspension takes toll

The introduction of the offline booking option by Careem is a commendable effort to mitigate the impact of the internet shutdown and address the needs of customers in Karachi. However, the underlying issue of the internet outage still needs to be resolved to ensure the seamless operation of digital services and the smooth functioning of the transportation sector in Pakistan.

As the situation continues to evolve, stakeholders are hopeful that the restoration of internet services will be expedited, allowing ride-sharing platforms like Careem to resume their normal operations and provide much-needed convenience and mobility to the people of Pakistan.

READ MORE: Telecom operators count losses as Internet shutdown takes a toll on Pakistan’s economy