She ‘Kab plans to expand its subscription-based monthly carpooling service in Pakistan to allow women to own cars, a notable challenge in South Asia. The rideshare is currently exploring several different financing options with potential partners that would allow women to reasonably afford a car.
In Pakistan, it is legal for any man or woman above the age of 18 to obtain a driver’s license. However, women often face societal pressures or lack the financial means that would allow them to purchase a vehicle and thereby establish a source of independence. In a country where only 22% of the workforce is female, vehicle ownership is rare, and even the working women often find it difficult to save enough money to provide a down payment on a car, according to a published report.
“We surveyed about 500 women and 300 of them said they want a service that would allow them to own a car,” Hira Batool Rizvi, founder of She ‘Kab, told Mobility Buzz. “And those women are working, but [are] not earning.”
Founded in December 2015 in Islamabad — and operating in Islamabad and Rawalpindi — She ‘Kab began as a safe taxi service for women where women would also be the only drivers. Although it was quickly discovered that there were not enough female drivers who also owned the vehicle they drove, Rizvi said. She ‘Kab is now operated by both male and female drivers.
“You see women driving in the cities, but they aren’t owners,” Rizvi said, referring to the fact that many women borrow the vehicle from family members — typically males. “It’s not at their discretion to do something with a car; they are still dependent on someone else.”
This gave way to the possibility of She ‘Kab helping women finance vehicles, through specialized finance models. These finance models could include the ability for women to not have to pay upfront costs — either by having She ‘Kab pay for the vehicle and sublease it out to women, only with a low markup of 5%; or where a partner pays for any upfront costs and the owner would pay the monthly lease or loan.
Currently, She ‘Kab is in discussion with banks, non-government organizations, leasing organizations, and micro-financing institutions. The company is also interested in working with an OEM like Suzuki, which is a popular brand in Pakistan, along with other Japanese automakers like Honda and Toyota, Rizvi said. Considering 48.6% of the Pakistani population is female, there is a significant market opportunity for automakers to make leasing or owning a car easily accessible to women.
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