Ever since I tried it, I have found Vaya to be quiet useful on a number of occasions. I will freely admit I have never really tried the alternatives- I just haven’t seen the need yet. It would appear however that there is trouble in paradise as Vaya drivers have not been spared by the latest fuel dry spell.
The case of an unlucky friend
A week ago after hearing me ceaselessly praising the app and service my best friend who barely keeps abreast of things tech asked me to install and configure the app on his phone.After learning the first ride was free he visited my house-12 km from his house- and asked me to help him try the service.
After entering my address ( the stupid thing still insists I am in Borrowdale despite numerous bug reports) and his address, we tapped on the request button. Our first five requests timed out and the sixth one was accepted only to be cancelled by the driver a minute later without explanation. My friend had to take two kombis back home.
I had not experienced anything like this so I dismissed it as an oddity. Then a few days later when I arrived at the bus station from a recent trip, I decided to order a ride. My battery ran out before I could get a driver. The next day (yesterday) I decided to order a ride. On my fourth try a driver from Waterfalls responded before cancelling the trip and blaming it on not having enough fuel.
In fact a series of drivers accepted and cancelled due to fuel shortages. Some of them cited fuel while some of them just quietly cancelled. As an aside I think if either party cancels a trip it’s only polite to let the other party know why you cancelled. Also it would be nice if Vaya formats the alerts a little bit so they can be more readable. The cancelled alert and the reason tend to be a little mushed together in my opinion.
The fuel situation is taking a toll
I do not live very far from the CBD where most of the Vaya drivers seem to park yet I could not get a ride on multiple occasions. Drivers who responded cited fuel as an issue. Despite lame assurances by authorities who constantly blame drivers instead of owning up to their incompetence- we actually have a fuel shortage.
Nascent ride hailing apps can actually suffer bad-will due to this. People like my friend who are just about to try the service will forever think it does not work if they cannot get their free ride. In my conversations and experience people barely trust apps to solve their everyday problems as it is.
Vaya Pool needs (to) work
People I have talked to tell me Vaya Pool already exists. If it does then I haven’t been able to activate or use it. Anyway Vaya Pool is a service that might really boost the popularity of Vaya and mitigate fuel problems. People going in the same direction can just share a ride. The will make the journey more viable for the driver as well as cheaper for the passengers.