Why do connected Pakistani millennials underutilise public transportation system?

With a population of 200 million (plus) people, Pakistan ranks as the world’s 5th most populous nation. As its urban centres continue to grow at steady rates, the advent of smartphones and broadband connectivity have fueled innovations and adoption across a wide range of industries; one that still remains poised for disruption is the Public Transport industry.

In a study conducted by Dalia Research, MIT Energy Initiative and Gallup Pakistan, 20pc of Pakistanis use Public Transportation, compared to a world average of 48pc. Pakistani’s also underutilise bus and minibus services (11pc) compared to the world average (25pc), the report said.

While the existing inner and intercity ecosystem is built around providing mass transportation services, issues relating to macro-accessibility, reliability and safety stand as hurdles for a mobile and connected audience that is currently standing at 69 million strong. One company believes its cracking that solution.

Frustrated by the lack of public transportation options, a small team of recent graduates from LUMS decided to launch Airlift — a smart bus solution that is aimed at solving Pakistan’s public transport puzzle.

Airlift is an app-based technology startup that offers daily commute that is low in cost and high in convenience. With hundreds of routes across Lahore and Karachi, Airlift has already scaled to tens of thousands of rides per day. The company has raised $2.1M in venture financing from angel investors in New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Dubai, Karachi and Lahore.

While Airlift serves a broad market, their main customers are educated middle-class Pakistanis who desire a convenient solution for their daily commute. According to Airlift, many of their customers previously used their own cars to get to work. Now, these same customers prefer to leave their cars at home and commute to work on Airlift.

Alongside serving tens of thousands of customers every week, Airlift is also solving for traffic and congestion. For each Airlift on the road, there are ten less cars, leading to fewer emissions and less traffic congestion.

Meher Farrukh, Awaab Khaakwany, Zohaib Ali, Muhammad Owais, Ahmed Ayub and Usman Gul started Airlift together. The full-time team also includes  Danish Sheikh, Muhammad Junaid, Hasan Zaidi, Faisal Iqbal, Saad Sheikh, Mustafa Shoaib, Saim Rashid, Zafar Iqbal and Muhammad Asad.

For more information, visit rideairlift.com

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  1. Hello LUMS group, with best compliments on your initiatives very much for the deprived Karachi by the relevant authorities. Your initiatives will be a feed stock to the Govt. of Sindh which I witness some Chinese Diesel buses, AC with door. Possibly with this article the Govt. buses visibility will improve. The issue is lack of regulatory authority, which is called Road Transport Authority. Buses, operating by drivers Ustad, conductor Chota, are operating 95% of public transport buses, coach, ChingQue motor cycle converted 4 seater is now regulated by Traffic Police for Challans. Thanks Allah the SECP Security Exchange Commission Pakistan has declared the bus/commuter operations be legitimized. As issuance of tickets by coach, chingQui, bus, or other mass transit transport should bear passenger liability by obtainment of group insurance for passengers traveling in public transport be legitimized. Every transport company, whether Bykea, or Rickshaw should give a ticket to the ride which should be assured the passenger will be taken to hospital for treatment by group insurance privilege without any liability to driver, owner of the transport as they are already covered with dirt cheap insurance which the SECP has arranged. Our HinoPak Plc., is still building good buses. But they are only diesel. They should immediately be changed to EV as Hino is operating buses in North America with full AC on EV Electric Vehicle. Please instruct them to start the assembly on EV buses and reduce the fair also to the public. The law should support the bonafide. Hinopak Buses on EV will have export enquiries in the Middle East regon.

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