Mini Oway three-wheel bikes to hit Mandalay
LOCAL tax operator Oway Ride will soon introduce a new three-wheel means of transport - Mini Oway - in Mandalay on September 17, U Kyaw Min Swe, Senior Director and Head of Oway Ride, told The Myanmar Times on September 13.
Mini Oway, a three-wheel bike service, will be the company’s third transport service in the city after its taxi and motorcycle services began operating in the city last September.
Unlike Yangon, motorcycles are the main mode of transport in Mandalay. Under Oway Ride, motorcycle fares start at a minimum of K500 per ride. However, taxi fares are much pricier at a starting price of K5,000 compared to Yangon, where fares start from as low as K1,000.
“Oway motorcycle fares are cheap but only for single riders. Families need a vehicle that can transport at least two people and one that can also be used during the rainy or hot seasons. So, we came up with a threewheel ride that is between a car and motorcycle,” said U Kyaw Min Swe.
“Even though it is three-wheeler bike, the engines are powerful and the seats will be covered. It will have the capacity to carry at least two people.”
In Mandalay, taxi fares are expensive because of a lack of passengers. So, most drivers charge enough to cover their return trip. While motorcycle fares are cheap, many regard them as dangerous.
“Now, passengers can choose between three Oway transport options using our app. All vehicles are registered and passengers can ride safely even at night,” said U Kyaw Min Swe.
Importantly, passengers can easily book a bike through the Oway Ride app or call centre. “Since we cannot provide a bike service like that in Yangon, we chose Mandalay. The fares will be a little higher than normal Oway motorcycles and follow a metered system,” U Kyaw Min Swe said.
He added that Mini Oway will also target tourists and visitors from around the country. The service will start out near famous tourist destinations like the Mandalay Maharmyatmuni Pagoda, Mandalay Central Railway station and other crowded areas.
The company will start out with 100 new bikes and has already recruited enough drivers. Over the longer term, it will increase its three-wheel bike service around Mandalay.
The move will also help to boost the number of Oway Ride users after the app got off to a bumpy start when it was first introduced last year.
‘’Frankly, Oway ‘s service was not suitable when we introduced it last year. We had problems fixing the fare. Because our fares were lower, the other taxi drivers were worried they would lose their market,” said U Kyaw Min Swe. “But we do not want to cannibalise their market. We did not communicate this well.”
The taxi market stands a chance if fares are lowered to more reasonable levels. “The taxi industry in Mandalay is expensive and has difficulty competing with motorcycles. Every home in Mandalay has one or two motorbikes,” said Ko San Yu Kyaw a resident from Aung Myay Thar Zan Township in Mandalay.
“But motorcycle crashes are very frequent and according to statistics one person dies from a motorcycle accident every two days. So if the taxi service is developed properly, people will reduce the use of motorcycles,” he added.
Oway Ride is the very first taxi service company in Mandalay to introduce the use of a mobile app. “But most of the residents in Mandalay still do not know about Oway Ride. We hope they will start to notice once we launch the three wheelers,” U Kyaw Min Swe said.