I recall sometime in May when I pointed out that Vaya had several services that it was yet to roll out. One of those services was Vaya Hopper. According to the Vaya site, it was going to be a service for those looking to easily traverse in congested areas. So this will be a service making use of motorbikes, electric cycles or 3-wheeler rides. It has now emerged that the service is now being tested out locally to draw some insights before it is officially unveiled. They are using auto-rickshaws and the unique value proposition lies in affordability and quick transportation.
The Idea Is Familiar Though – Consider India
Using auto-rickshaws is a common sight when you look at India. India is a heavily populated country and as such congestion in the central business, districts can be a menace. This is what led to the concept of auto-rickshaws which in India are called tuk-tuks. Though Zimbabwe is not as heavily populated as India the concept, in theory, can help beat traffic jams and congestion.
Still On A Trial Run
As at this moment, the Vaya Hopper service is still undergoing a trial run. One person indicated through a tweet that they rode one of the Vaya Hopper auto-rickshaws. The tweet read as follows: “Today I rode in a Vaya Hopper (auto-rickshaw) which was on a trial basis around the CBD, it was such a cool experience. The Vaya Hopper is a Zimbabwean version of the Indian Tuk Tuks. This is such a welcome relief providing commuters with an economical transport alternative.”
A Look At Some Public Reactions
Several people have indicated their sentiments regarding this Vaya Hopper service. There are interesting angles explored and it is clear that there are mixed feelings about the service. Here are some points worth exploring:
Some feel that the use of auto rickshaws brings about convenience for the commuting public. Just as I mentioned earlier it is two-tier namely, affordability and reaching an intended destination quickly. This is clearly seen when taking a look at the India example where the service is commonplace. Ultimately the biggest question becomes whether or not the service will prove popular and effective locally.
Unsafe And Noisy
Some people are heavily opposed to the service citing safety and noise pollution concerns. There is a general feeling amongst some people that auto-rickshaws will make driving difficult for other motorists thus presenting safety concerns. This is noteworthy because remember that we already have kombis who drive recklessly. Then you add auto rickshaws to that already chaotic setup. You also must consider that there might be a confrontational relationship between kombis and auto-rickshaws since the latter will most likely be more affordable than the former. There is also the issue of noise which is appreciable because auto rickshaws do make a substantial amount of noise. Someone even felt that adopting auto-rickshaws would be akin to retrogression as a nation i.e. it is undignified.
The broad points I have just been discussing earlier are both pertinent. There definitely is a convenience but there is also a downside to be considered. I guess only time will tell since this is a service that is not yet officially widespread. What do you think about this Vaya Hopper service using auto-rickshaws? Do you think it will become sought after once it becomes fully operational? How about the fares, do you think they will be way cheaper than the traditional taxis and kombis? Kindly let us know in the comments below plus your sentiments on any other important thoughts you might have on this development.
Cassava Smartech is the company behind the Vaya services. They are really working flat out to becoming a titanic player in the Fintech and mass transportation space. Cassava Smartech is a subsidiary of Econet Global and already it has local market cap of at least ZWL$3 billion dollars.