Pakistanis who are on the go but hoping to skip a bumpy rickshaw ride now have another option for quick transportation: Uber.
The international ride-hailing app debuted Wednesday in Lahore as uberGo, which will let riders pay in cash or by credit card, according to Reuters. Pakistan, where more than 90 percent of all passengers and cargo are transported on the roads, is the 69th country to feature Uber. Uber is currently expanding across the Middle East and North Africa.
Executives there were pushing the app as a safer alternative to local rickshaw and taxi services. Drivers will undergo background checks, be verified by police and undergo anti-sexual harassment training, CNBC reported. UberGo customers can expect to ride in cars like Toyota Corollas or Suzuki Swifts and be able to share their locations with friends through the app, as well.
“Uber's technology makes it possible to focus on safety for both passengers and drivers before, during and after every trip,” spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif told CNBC.
Uber’s Pakistan launch comes about four months after a driver in nearby Delhi, India, was found guilty of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman he picked up. After the incident, the Delhi government banned the app, BBC News reported.
Noman Ansari, a blogger for the Express Tribune, recently noted that Uber’s precautions will likely make using the service more secure than finding a random car on the street, though it’s not without risk. “Does Uber have a rape problem? No, I am afraid mankind has a rape problem,” Ansari wrote. “A rapist will rape regardless of whether he is on Uber or not.”
The service’s rollout could also run into issues with Pakistanis’ access to smartphones. Ansari said roughly 8 percent of residents have phones with modern enough technology to use Uber. The Wall Street Journal reported that about 24.7 million people there have 3G and 4G connections.