New Ride Sharing in Laos But Still Not Grab…

Laos, ride-hailing companies, technology, start-up

LOCA App is so far the only ride sharing app available in Laos.

Surprisingly, none of the large ride sharing apps available in Asia such as Grab or Go Jek have so far paid attention of serving Lao PDR. While there is indeed limited potential for development in provinces -although a tourist city such as Luang Prabang and eventually Pakse/Savannakhet could probably support a small operation, demand is however high in Laos capital Vientiane.

With over 900,000 vehicles on the road and no viable public transport system insight, traffic in Vientiane is rapidly turning into an experience comparable to other cities in the region. Commuting is increasingly difficult and the arrival of LOCA is certainly an answer. So far, LOCA mostly attracted expats and foreign travellers already well aware of ride hailing and sharing services in other countries in Southeast Asia.

LOCA has been present in Vientiane since August of this year and it took some six months to train and bring drivers to the requested standards. The company is looking at minimizing safety risks. Vehicles without an insurance policy are not allowed to be used for LOCA. In that case, LOCA erases the vehicle registration with the company.

Another innovative way is payment procedure. While LOCA was first looking to only use online payment, the company finally realized that cash payment remained an important tool for customers. In the case, drivers do not carry enough change, the remainder of the amount is stocked into a virtual wallet that the customer will use later.

While a majority of LOCA customers are travelling on a private basis, some companies are now using the App services to save on costs of having its own fleet of vehicles. Tourists have also enthusiastically adopted the new mean of transportation. As it offers them a total transparency in pricing.

LOCA trips can be paid for with Visa or MasterCard, as well as cash, and the developers are working with local finance institutions to bring QR code payments online. So the future looks bright for LOCA, who plan to expand to every major city in Laos within the next few years.