Earlier in June, ridesharing service Uber tapped into a new market in Amsterdam through UberBike. The service allows riders to request for rides that have bike racks installed in their vehicles, allowing them to reach their destination along with their bike.

In Pakistan, an Uber rival is tapping into a wider market that Uber has failed to capitalize on: low-income residents.

Named Rixi, a local competitor to the multinational giant Uber is looking to mix old technology with new ideas to cater to the needs of customers who prefer to travel in rickshaws and not cars. The startup is also not utilizing expensive smartphones for its platform, and is instead using the older SMS messaging technology found in cheaper mobile phones.

According to Adnan Khawaja, the founder of Rixi, the company works with more than 1,000 rickshaw operators in the bustling city of Lahore, where many residents rely on the noisy three-wheeled vehicles to get around.

There are more than 130 million recorded mobile phone subscriptions in Pakistan, but only 21 percent of customers have subscribed to the data packages that are required for smartphones. The city of Lahore, likewise, does not boast of a significant number of smartphone users, which gave Rixi the idea to tap into the relatively low-tech market.

Rixi works by having customers send an SMS message to a dedicated phone number that includes the pick-up address and the destination address. Rickshaw operators will then send their bids for the services to the customer within three to five minutes, with the bids to come with a 50 percent discount if they come in after five minutes. The bids could also come with service ratings from the operator's previous rides.

Customers are required to respond within eight minutes on which of the bids the customer will accept. A confirmation message will be sent to the customer, with the rickshaw driver to arrive at the designated pick-up spot within 10 to 15 minutes.

On the Rixi website, the company is also giving more customers a chance to use the service through an expansion of coverage. Customers can send in requests to unlock a certain area for Rixi, and if 30 requests from different mobile numbers are received, the service will expand to the area.

Rixi is also offering points to customers who refer the service to others, with every referred customer good for one free ride, and the points being accumulated to increase the chances of winning a variety of gifts from the company.

Uber has declined to issue a comment on the business model of Rixi. Entrepreneurs Shehmir Shaikh, meanwhile, noted that Uber is not in tune with the transport market in Pakistan, as there is no readily available technology that will allow the international company to replicate its success in countries with higher smartphone penetration figures.

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