Ola is introducing outstation rides and rental deals this month. The outstation facility will allow customers to book a cab two hours in advance for intercity travel while rental enables customers to rent a car on an hourly basis. Facing stiff competition from Uber, the taxi-hailing app may launch self-drive and on-demand drivers in the future.
Apart from its on-demand taxi service, Ola’s existing facilities include a bus service called ‘Ola Shuttle’, auto services, carpooling, and corporate transport. It briefly operated bike-taxis in Bengaluru and Gurugram. At the moment, Ola is operating in over 100 cities across the country. However, none of the cities offer intercity travel or rental deals.
Ola’s biggest rival Uber is looking to expand its low-cost services, UberGo and Share to more cities; it operates in 26 cities. The American multinational online transportation firm recently raised investments to the tune of $3.5 billion (about Rs 23,000 crore) from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to fuel in to its Indian arm.
“The company has a dedicated user base of people who are using the taxi service so it is easy to sell these services to commuters,” Jaspal Singh, a transport analysts at Valoriser Consultants tells The Economic Times. This is in line with Ola’s plan to reduce car ownership.
While both Ola and Uber are increasing the scale of their operations in the country, they are involved in an ongoing battle with the government to ascertain their autonomy. The government is mulling introducing an amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, to regulate app-base aggregators under an ‘intermediaries’ category. At present, the government is miffed with their concepts like surge pricing.