The dreaded moment is here: schools are back. For Egyptians this means more horrendous traffic, which seems to last all day and without any way to escape it. Most schools begin at 9am and end at 1pm or 3pm. This means three traffic-ridden time slots within the day in addition to the regular rush hour trouble zones.
Many Cairenes have forsaken driving forever, opting for taxis or the Metro to get around the city. Both options are not ideal. If using taxis, you subject yourself to the whims of cab drivers, who usually refuse to go anywhere crowded. Not to mention the lack of air-conditioning and the occasional sob stories as a way for you to fork up more money. If using the Metro, while it is guaranteed there is no traffic, the sardine tin-like effect of it and the harassment of women makes it an underground torture chamber.
The ideal solution would be to hire a driver to drive you around this forsaken city. Enter PieRide, a new service in town, which seems to combine car rentals with car-pooling. “We send a car with a professional driver to pick customers up every morning, drive them to work and back home, utilising technology to offer ride sharing to match our clients up with individuals in their work/school community to share cost,” explained Mai ElZeiny, PieRide’s Chief Marketing Officer.
Cairo’s excruciating traffic was the fertile ground from which the project developed three months ago: “We grew tired of wasting our time and energy in Cairo traffic or finding parking spots,” ElZeiny said.
In addition to ElZeiny, a computer science graduate who worked with many entrepreneurs in Nahdet El Mahrousa, Rami Halim and Karim El Mansi are also co-founders of PieRide. El Mansi is an experienced business executive with an MBA from IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. Halim is a Business consultant with an MBA from IE business school in Spain and currently pursuing a masters in advanced management from Yale University.
The team realised that Egyptians are not making use of their cars in the best possible way. “You’re stuck in a traffic jam that seems to snake down forever and you look around you and most of the cars have a single passenger on board, that’s 75% of unused capacity; what a waste. Carpooling doesn’t work either, because no four people have the exact same schedule,” ElZeiny explained.
PieRide is different from taxis. “Our service is 50% cheaper than a taxi, safer and far more reliable. Each PieRide car is three private cars less on the road. We carefully vet, train and track our drivers to guarantee their trustworthiness. We also collect customer feedback and use a rating system to help us determine which drivers are doing a good job, and which ones aren’t,” ElZeiny said.
They are already serving multiple routes, with the main one being 6th October City to Zamalek and Dokki. “This also includes Mohandessin, Dokki, Agouza and parts of the Nile Cornish near the Nile City towers. We are also starting another route between Maadi and the locations above. We have plans to expand to many more routes in the coming months,” ElZeiny explained.
A monthly subscription costs EGP 950, but there is also a weekly subscription. The fee covers the two-way trip, meaning the car will drive you and then come back to pick you up. “The price is preset and paid in advance and doesn’t change if the trip took longer or shorter than average,” ElZeiny said.
They are currently working on developing more routes and their own mobile application. More information can be found on their website and Facebook page.