New Service Lets You Zip Around Islamabad In Eco-Friendly Style

The Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has joined the growing number of cities around the world where commuters can get around in eco-friendly style with a new electric scooter-sharing service.

New service lets you zip around Islamabad in eco-friendly style

An employee of the electric scooter-sharing service ezbike rides a new rental scooter during a demonstration. Pakistanis in the capital, Islamabad, can use the new rental service to get around. — Arne Immanuel Baensch/dpa

The Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has joined the growing number of cities around the world where commuters can get around in eco-friendly style with a new electric scooter-sharing service.

And if the start-up behind the service, called ezbike, has its way, its e-scooters will soon be coming to the other large metropolises of Karachi and Lahore. “Response has been beyond our expectations,” Syed Mohammad Hadi, managing director of the start-up Roamer tells dpa.

“We wanted to offer this bike-sharing service in Pakistan as a cheap, comfortable and environment-friendly service,” Hadi said.

Only a few of the electric scooters, which can be rented by app, were at a presentation of the new service, but Roamer aims to have more than 2,000 of them on the streets of Islamabad in the next 12 months.

The app does not work on all older smartphones, Hadi admits. However, he adds: “We had around 15,000 downloads in the first six days.”

According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, around 85 million people in the South Asian country have smartphones. With an estimated population of more than 210 million people, this is just under 40%.

A ride on the electric scooters costs 5 Pakistani rupees per minute (RM0.13). Other driving services, such as Uber or taxis, are considerably more expensive.

“Pakistan’s transition towards e-mobility is inevitable given the tremendous benefits to the consumer, who gets a cheaper mode of transport; to the economy, with billions of dollars of savings in imported fossil fuel; and to the environment, with 70% less noxious emissions,” Malik Amin Aslam, adviser to the prime minister on climate change, tells dpa.

“This is a win-win-win transition that has been catalysed by the recently approved electric vehicle (EV) policy of the government,” he says. Pakistan launched an EV policy this year with a goal of having at least 30% of all vehicles running on electricity by 2030.

“The e-bikes project is just the start to what will soon be a massive transition in the country towards a cheaper and cleaner mode of transport,” Aslam says.

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