Believing in the optimal sharing of available resources, Tootle has utilized the biking city Kathmandu. Kathmandu is a place where freedom to move is restricted. Being a bike hailing app, Tootle carries a theme of enabling people to mobilize freely despite users being disabled or women. Glocal Khabar interviewed Sixit Bhatta, CEO, and Co-founder of Tootle.
Story behind initiation
Including Sixit Bhatta, a group of youngsters was working on the researches of location-based online platforms. They built up an app that had a mechanism to track the Sajha buses. They did take that app to the respective office and they were not much interested in the app. After a certain period of time, the group decided to work more on it and design a ride-hailing app.
Sixit quoted, “Although the idea was similar to Uber and Ola, the group decided not to provide the car service but to utilize the widely available resources in Kathmandu Valley. As Kathmandu Valley is a biking city, we decided to stay the bike hailing app as car services will not be able to mitigate the market demands.”
Tootle App was launched in January, 2017.
Tootle is an app that is built by the group of Nepali youths. You can choose your ride inserting the pickup and drop points. You can also select the gender of your rider. The app tracks the available two-wheeler around and then bring them to your doorsteps. You can ride tootle to your chosen destination. The mechanism of the app is as similar to Ola and Uber. It matches the match between those who need the ride and who are willing to offer the ride. Tootle works from 8 am to 8 pm and is only available in Kathmandu Valley.
Anyone who has a two-wheeler can apply to work as a Tootle driver. For security, the applicant has to submit a copy of the driving license and recent photo and go through the screening process before being a Tootle driver. A tootle driver can bag up to 64 percent of the earnings excluding the tax and Tootle commission which is 20 percent.
Sixit mentioned, “We completed 320 thousand rides including regular services to disabled people, women, and third genders.”
He said, “We did expect challenges that might come through the process of establishing our start-up.” There were challenges to deal with the gender stereotypes as we were providing the gender-specific selection on our app that is found nowhere in the world. He shared, “We also had a challenge as we were compared with the world-class car-hailing apps but no one realized that we created the app with 20 people from Nepal whereas they had access to best tech people in abundance number.”
There are only a few payment gateways in Nepal which are used by limited Nepalese. This is also another challenge for Tootle as it has to deal with transactions mostly in cash. Sixit added, “There is no any social security number system so we have to make sure of different factors about our freelancing tootle drivers for strengthing security.” As Tootle is an app working only on internet availability, this is the biggest challenge as Nepal does not have constant internet everywhere and every time.
Sixit emphasized, “The best customer response we got was on the odd-even system for the vehicle on the BIMSTEC summit. The three days of transportation hurdle did impact the daily life of Nepali people. We despite having half of our riders available were successful to provide service to 8000 people in three days with no commission to Tootle. Our customers did share their experience by posting on social media and thanking us regarding the ease ride service on the hurdle period caused by BIMSTEC.”
Sixit shared, “Tootle is aware of the four pillars of mobility that are sustainably driven, driven by sharing in any form, Self-driven, AI driven. The team of Tootle is beginning to think about working on these and find their possibility in Nepal.”
He added, “Tootle is planning to expand its services to Pokhara and many cities of Nepal. As tootle focuses more on biking, the future of Tootle expansion might be to India and South Africa where biking is common.”
Message to youths
Sixit concluded, “We need to remove the doctrine from our mind about developing Nepal as growth is happening and many indicators are found in our society. There are numerous creative works and arts are flourishing where entrepreneurship is a recent buzz point. And that is what I feel is development. ”
By: Sampada Dahal