"He must be 6 feet tall, live abroad, must be open-minded..."
In this modern world, we come across the most bizarre and creative ideas. However, who knew that taxis would ever be able to find you a partner while you are on the go? Perhaps not all taxi services have this on offer, but Careem in Pakistan certainly does.
The popular taxi service where customers are chauffeur driven to their destination recently added an extra incentive to their journeys, by launching a Rishta Aunty Campaign for two days.
On the 19th and 20th July 2017, their Rishta Aunty option was available from 12pm to 10pm in Pakistan’s main cities, Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
In this service, customers were greeted with a matchmaker upon entering their ride. The process was then explained to them in further detail. Once they were comfortable, the matchmaker started taking note of their preferences. Finally, at the end of the journey, the customer was later contacted about a potential partner.
The campaign has created quite a stir in Pakistan, with many single guys and girls intrigued about this limited offer.
— Qasim Farooq (@JihadiOnline) July 19, 2017
Sibtain Naqvi from Careem said about the initiative during its launch:
“Pakistan has a huge population of young people and still we have trouble meeting people so we thought this would be a good initiative. Today in the morning we already averaged 700 rides. It must be up to 1000 rides now. In fact, we’re overbooked.”
Want to know what really happens in the taxi? Well, two young journalists from Pakistan have shared their experience. They talk about how endearing the rishta aunty is, dubbing her “the ideal mother-in-law”.
Not only does she cater for a variety of demands and preferences, but she does not judge either. They talk about height, family, and how round you can make your roti.
One of the girls explains: “He must be 6 feet tall, live abroad, must be open-minded…” The list goes on!
Backlash for Careem’s ‘Rishta Aunty’ service?
While Careem will be happy that their initiative has drawn interest from some customers, they have also faced considerable backlash.
Some have accused the taxi company for playing up to cultural expectations of marriage. Careem’s competitors also appear to be having a say. Uber Pakistan took the Rishta Aunty and Careem collaboration as the perfect opportunity to take a dig. They tweeted:
“If you want to get from A to B, hassle free and without worrying about rishta aunties, it’s time to #UberIt.”
— Uber Pakistan (@Uber_PKR) July 19, 2017
You can only admire their wit as they cleverly transform the creative idea into a downfall of the taxi service. That’s definitely one way for Uber to pick up some customers.
Another issue that appears to have emerged is the privacy of the young guys and girls who openly share their personal details during their journey. Many customers did not express the same enthusiasm about the Careem driver as they did for the matchmaker.
With sly smirks and unnecessary comments, a few girls have mentioned how uncomfortable Careem’s own drivers made the journey. As if resorting to a taxi rishta aunty could not be awkward enough, they were talking about a personal matter in front of a stranger.
It’s clear that the response to the Rishta Aunty taxi service has been somewhat bittersweet. Many customers of the taxi service were pleasantly surprised whilst others were not so impressed.
Although popular, even Careem have since admitted that their ‘Rishta Aunty taxi service’ is unlikely to make a return anytime soon.