Marah Ahmed, a young Palestinian woman from the West Bank’s city of Nablus, has created the first-ever online application in the Palestinian territories to provide accessible transportation to people.
Linking passengers with drivers of private cars, the application, called Transport Me to Palestine, makes the process of looking for a driver less time-consuming.
Marah came up with the idea after having trouble several times on transportation.
“I was late to work several times because there was no transportation. At times it took me two to three hours to get to work, a distance that usually takes 45 minutes,” Marah told Xinhua, adding that delays caused by transport led to penalties and forced her to stay quite often in Ramallah.
Ramallah, the center of all government’s offices and a business hub, usually attracts thousands of Palestinians who flock to the city for work, which means they need to get up in the early morning to be at the workplace on time.
Besides the long time on the way, the high costs of transportation is another problem.
“Each employee generally needs about 250 U.S. dollars for transportation costs, and that brought me to the idea that something needed to be done to change the current situation,” Marah said.
One year ago, the young woman created an account on Facebook, aiming to help passengers keep in touch with drivers passing their way.
The account grew popular so quickly with more than 3,000 followers, prompting Marah to set up her online application. The outbreak of COVID-19 in Palestinian territories five months ago contributed to increasing her app’s users.
“Some passengers and drivers share fuel expenses,” said Marah, while some driver refuse to accept expenses paid by passengers because they said they would like to promote social solidarity or simply want to make friends.
Saad Kettana, a 27-year-old employee based in Tulkarm, told Xinhua that he uses the app to give travelers a ride in Ramallah neighborhoods and they share fuel expenses.
“The application helps to gain time instead of wasting it, and it is a good opportunity to form new social relationships as well as earn some extra cash,” he added.
Tariq Jamil, a 26-year-old engineer from Bethlehem, has also praised the application as “it helps many Palestinians in their daily transportation struggles.”
“I published on Transport Me to Palestine application about my possibility to give a ride for other travelers in Ramallah, especially in light of the increasing economic difficulties,” Jamil told Xinhua.
Majd Hathnawi, based in Jenin, told Xinhua that “the application helped me find transportation from my work to home easily, especially amid the lockdown.”
Farah expressed her ambition to develop her project more and run the application through other operating programs as soon as she has the capabilities to help Palestinian travelers in their daily transportation.