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Young Entrepreneurs Launch New App to Solve Cairo Parking Woes

18 June, 2017
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A group of young entrepreneurs have launched a new mobile application with the aim of helping Cairenes find parking spots in their capital, which is notorious for its crowdedness and limited parking capacity.

Rakna, a new valet-on-demand app, enables people who are in a hurry or find it hard to park their cars in Cairo to arrive on time and get their errands done.

After launching a year and three months ago, the application is now operating in downtown Cairo and Zamalek and has plans to expand to other places in the capital.

“We have parked between 5,000 and 6,000 cars so far,” Ahmed Zaki, the co-founder of Rakna, told BECAUSE.

Zaki says that his start-up is growing by 10% month-on-month as people continue to look for a solution to the persistent parking problem in Egypt.

He adds that his start-up is planning to extend to other places in the capital and provide more services to its customers, including information about the parking lots that are available in any particular area and the best places to park.

Through the Uber-like application, a customer orders the nearest valet, sees his picture, learns his name and rating and receives a security number that the valet has to recite back to the customer in order to give him his car. The valet takes the customer’s car keys and parks it. To have the car returned, the customer contacts the valet through the app and the valet brings the customer’s car to the requested location.

Regarding the rates, Zaki says that Rakna charges customers EGP 15 for the first hour and then an additional EGP 5 per hour until the amount reaches EGP 35. Rakna also offers a weekly package of EGP 130 and a monthly package of EGP 530.

According to a 2014 study released by the World Bank, traffic in Cairo costs Egypt EGP 47 billion annually, which amounts to roughly 2.5% of its GDP. The study covered the areas of Greater Cairo, home to 19.6 million citizens, and includes part of Giza and Qalubiya as well as the new cities of New Cairo, 6th of October City, 15th of May, 10th of Ramadan, el-Obour and Badr City.

According to the study, the cost of Cairo traffic is forecasted to reach EGP 105 billion by 2030. The study cited the limited parking capacity as one of the reasons for incurring such huge costs.

Zaki says that his app “does not actually solve the complicated parking problem, but it tries to reduce the inefficiencies in the parking system in Egypt”. 

“The service provides on-demand valets who immediately take the cars from the customers and parks them for an affordable sum of money, saving them a lot of time and energy,” he adds.

Zaki also says that his app tries to integrate the valet community in Egypt into services like this in order to regulate such a business, have fixed prices and stop the exploitation of many greedy valets. “Instead of having valets who ask for high prices and change them every now and then, we can have a service that provides fixed prices and regulates that chaotic business,” he adds.

Tags Cairo traffic parking Rakna valet technology mobile app