Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Metered Tuk Tuks in Sri Lanka - Opportunities & Threats (A SWOT Analysis)

Got the chance to have a chat with a tuk tuk driver from "Budget Taxi" company who had been with the service for a long time. Following is a brief situation analysis of such a company gathered from his words about the history and from what i learnt from customers of the service (Special thanks to Hasitha ayya - who shared his experience in using metered tuks) - The post is for the benefit of entrepreneurs in taxi business, for customers and business/marketing students like you and me to know.

Apparently the metered three wheel services had started about 3 years back. At that time which was only a differentiation factor from "badly looked upon" normal three wheelers. After that the "on call" tuk tuk companies started forming like Taxi services in the past Sri Lanka (There was a joke in a paper so many years back that if you dialled any pattern in a Sri Lankan phone - a taxi will come to you).


  • This company "Budget taxi" has build a very sustainable customer segment who travels daily. The driver said there are people who goes to office, travel during office hours, come home, go around for home needs all in the same tuk tuk. This is the biggest strength of the service as it protects the business,assures survival and creates growth specially by word of mouth marketing.
  • Pricing model - is a big strength as it is a key factor when differentiating their service as compared below with the normal three wheel pricing mechanism (Bit of humour).

  • The current technology used to track tuk tuks is beneficial to the drivers side as he can switch off location tracking and go on private hires. This happened to me where i called the service & there was no tuk tuk but on the road i could find one who had switched off location tracking.
  • No geographical presence is a weakness because you cannot find a taxi instantly. 
  • Well seriously the economy is improving and the people are ready to spend on luxuries after the war. Living standards are increasing and thus people prefer to travel by tuks than in the past.  
  • Technological advancements have enabled tuk tuks to have meters, have location tracking (Even manual tracking). But the advancements are great that companies can go for better technologies such as GPS tracking of tuk tuks. Even the customer end can be improved by better CRM systems such as an improved Taxico android app.
  • There are low cost cars like NANOs coming to the market, making travel by car less costly. And this can effect the appeal for tuk tuks. (Apparently NANO is only about Rs.10 more expensive).
  • Threat of new entrance is very high. Already there are half a dozen tuk tuk services with the key word Budget, For e.g.Budget Lanka, Budget Three wheel.etc.
  • Threat from the non-metered three wheels are very high as they are high in quantity and strong with their associations and influential networks.
Overall - It is a booming market as @vidic8d tweeted - NANO is already increasing their prices which means more profits for companies like Budget Taxi. On the other hand the market is becoming fragmented and it is tough to battle out.

It is recommended to move on to better technologies for tracking location and to come up with offices (Geographical service points) to fight normal three wheel services better.

Please feel free to comment below with your ideas and your points to be added to the SWOT. I will update the post with your name.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nice post bro. All of above are so damn True.Mostly I'm also using Metered Taxi but unfortunately Metered taxi so hard to find out on evening(Office Time)and also they are locating their taxis near by so crowded towns. :/
    P.S : Dude can you remove this Word Verification Please :)

  3. Well. About pricing, if it is a normal metered taxi which does not belong to any metered taxi companies charge Rs. 35 per km.

    Nice post! You have written all most all the points. I will add stuff if I remember later :D

  4. Anjula - Can't you call them up and ask them to come at office time? I heard it works...I have removed it bro...Tell me if it still there.
    Plus i need some advise on the template. Wondering whether to go back to default blogger template.
    @hajara - Thanks for the comment...True that some charge Rs.35. Rising cost of living is nt it?

  5. after 10PM No metered tuk tuks are available. I ve called many times.. even though they answer phone they dnt have any taxi to send. even Nano.. soo i guess even we dnt like it, the only option left is.. NORMAL TUK... :)

  6. Dear Anonymous - Thanks for your insight - Its true. I've heard lots of people travel in Tuks after 10PM most if not all of them had booked in advance. So what do you think can be a solution? Increasing no.of tuks? Or as i have given above - Have geographical locations - in popular cities & junctions so you can take them then & there...

  7. I have created a free fare calculator at http://faresfair.co so that you can calculate an estimation of the fare before you travel. This means when the meter is turned off you can haggle with authority!