Snapp: The Iranian Version to Uber

Women’s taxi
Photograph from Flickr user: Parmida Rahimi

If you have travelled in Iran, you will know that taxis are very much a popular mode of transport. Since 2000, the underground network has expanded, with six main lines carrying three million passengers everyday and thousands of buses transporting thousands of passengers. Even so, taxis are still one of the most popular modes of transport.

There is a new way of travelling in taxis that has emerged in Iran – Snapp, Iran’s version of Uber which launched in 2014. The CEO Sharam Shakar, a 32-year-old Iranian entrepreneur has grown his company from 60 employees to a massive 500 members over the last year, with the average age of his employees being 24-years-old. More than five million passengers are registered with the Snapp application in just Tehran and it has expanded to three other major cities, Karaj, Esfahan and Shiraz, being most recently launched in Mashhad.

Snapp is proving incredibly successful with over 100,000 people working as drivers for the company and there have been 50 million rides with the app since 2014. Snapp is so popular due to its speed of arrival and highly affordable prices, with certain routes costing less than half of what a standard agency taxi would charge you. A route from Tehran’s science ministry in the city centre to Velengak, an area in the north-west of the capital, costs approximately 300,000 raids (around £6) with agency taxis. Snapp charges about 140,000 rials for the same journey. Unlike Uber, Snapp drivers accept both cash and payments made online.

A reason behind Snapp’s growing popularity is its customer service. The priority is with the customer and feedback is taken seriously. There are even more additions to Snapp already including Snapp Plus, featuring rides with improved cars and Snapp Box, a postal service which sends and receives parcels on motorbikes. Snapprose is a service that offers female drivers for women and families. Not all their women drivers drive exclusively for Snapprose and its female-only service though. Some of the women work alongside male drivers and drive around male passengers too. Likewise, women passengers can have men drivers.

Iran has found its own alternative to the west’s Uber. Snapp has revolutionised the way that Iranians travel, with Tehran’s population of 12 million people being able to have a more reliable, affordable and convenient mode of transportation all in one. Instead of ‘darbast’, the Persian term used if you want to have a taxi just for yourself, ‘Snapp’ is becoming the new word on the street.

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