Sci & Tech

Snapp Driving Customers Crazy

Ride-hailing in Iran is getting mixed reviews on both iOS and Android
iOS and Android are telling all on Iran’s largest ride-hailing app. iOS and Android are telling all on Iran’s largest ride-hailing app.
One person got a taxi from Iran’s northern Mazandaran region and the driver had no clue about one of the main freeways of Tehran

Iran’s leading ride-hailing app, Snapp (formally TaxiYaab), co-owned by Germany’s Rocket Internet and MTN-Irancell through its holding company, Iran Internet Group, is getting mixed reviews from customers in recent months.

The application, hailed as the answer to Tehran’s traffic woes, is having a series of teething problems, according to some subscribers of the service, which include drivers not knowing the capital well as well as vanishing taxis.

Snapp, which took great pains in recent months to publicize receiving $20 million Series-A funding, is an alternative to the traditional taxi agency and drivers roaming the streets for passengers. In reality, the Uber-clone is struggling to impress customers.

According to one user, Hadjifaria, using the app on iOS he wrote on Itunes reviews, “The app and the whole service are pretty awesome, BUT there are a number of things that can be improved. First, the location of the car after you request your ride should be updated much more frequently. Second, the app should find the closest Snapp car TO THE ORIGIN not to your current location. As it is, the app cannot be used to request rides for anyone but yourself”.

However, some customers, who spoke to Financial Tribune about their experience, are so frustrated that they are willing to forgo it entirely in the future.

One customer, who said 60% of the time his Snapp cars were clean and large cars, noted that it did not make up for the other 40% of the time when the taxis would suddenly vanish on his phone once it reached his pickup point.

The local resident, which had high hopes for the service, said, “As soon as the car arrives outside my apartment on the map, it suddenly vanishes … and for some unknown reason the driver ends up leaving.”

The vanishing taxi may be down to a simple User Interface issue, which in the long run could be fixed, but the user was incredulous: “How can Rocket Internet, which has been doing this for years, have such a shoddy programming team?”

The problems don’t seem to end there for the foreign-backed startup.

One business owner, who thought the service could be as “good as Uber is in Europe”, said he was left on the sidewalk of uptown Tehran while more than a dozen Snapp drivers hovering around a major square refused to accept his request.

That user said, “This has to be the third time I stood in the street waiting for one of these people to accept the request!”

The list of issues for the team behind Snapp appears to be growing on a daily basis.

Some users online had a different type of problem with the service.

Nima Nikfar, an online user, writes, “After a recent update just a few days ago, it doesn’t work on iOS (latest version) anymore, and it says try again and then nothing! Would you please consider this issue?”

Behzad Shabani, a user of the Android version of the software, highlights another issue: “The app is good but not the drivers. What’s the point of pinning locations, if drivers ask where I am and where I want to go?”

Shabani’s comments echo those of other users who spoke with the paper.

One person got a taxi from Iran’s northern Mazandaran region and the driver had no clue about one of the main freeways of Tehran.

But, it’s not all negative, as one Indian user of the app wrote, “It’s a very nice app. I am from India and I have a language problem in Iran, but from this app it’s easy for me to go anywhere because we just select the correct destination and the driver will drop us.”

Snapp is also likely to get more competition in the coming months as Tehran’s Taxi Association, which does not look kindly on the service, is on the verge of launching its own ride-hailing service that has yet to materialize., another ride-hailing service, which is believed to be partly financed by French investors, according to one source, trails behind the Rocket Internet-backed service with 75,000 monthly hits versus 18,300.

As digital ride-hailing options come on stream, the already established taxi sector is going to struggle further for retaining their customers’ share, but that depends on efficiency.




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