Ola Cabs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ola Cabs
Founded3 December 2010; 10 years ago (2010-12-03)
Number of locations
250+ cities
Area served
New Zealand
United Kingdom
Key people
ProductsMobile app, website
Revenue2,544 crore (US$340 million)[2] (FY 2019)
Number of employees
~3,000 (2020)
ParentANI Technologies[3]

Ola Cabs (stylized as OLΛ) is an Indian multinational ridesharing company offering services that include vehicle for hire and food delivery. The company is based in Bengaluru, Karnataka. As of October 2019, Ola was valued at about US$6.5 billion.[4] A variety of venture capitalists including Softbank have large stakes in the company.[5]

In January 2018, Ola extended into its first overseas market, Australia, and in New Zealand in September 2018.[6] In March 2019, Ola began its UK operations introducing auto rickshaws in UK. More than 10,000 drivers have applied both in online and offline mode ahead of its launch in London. In February 2020, Ola launched its taxi-hailing services with over 25,000 drivers registered.[7]


In March 2015, Ola Cabs acquired Bengaluru-based taxi service TaxiForSure for approximately 12.37 billion (US$160 million).[8] June 2015 onwards, Ola users gained access to TFS cabs via the Ola mobile application.[9] Later in the year in November, Ola further acquired Geotagg, a trip-planning applications company, for an undisclosed sum.[10]

In a move to expand beyond cab aggregation, Ola acquired struggling foodtech company Foodpanda India with an eye on leveraging the growing food delivery segment business in December 2017.[11] In April 2018, Ola made its second acquisition with Ridlr (formerly Traffline), a public transport ticketing app.[12] Later in August 2018, Ola financed Series A funding of the scooter rent startup Vogo, and again in December, invested another $100 million.[13]

In March 2019, the Karnataka state transport department suspended Ola's operating license for six months for violation of license conditions and violation of Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregator Rules, 2016. This was on account of Ola running bike taxi services though it only had license for four wheeler taxi operations. The company termed the order unfortunate and was looking at working with driving partners to continue functioning. They also claimed to be in touch with authorities to sort things out.[14]

Subsidiaries and services[edit]

Apart from the ride-hailing business Ola Cabs, the holding company ANI Technologies operates four subsidiaries: Ola Fleet, Ola Financial Services, Ola Foods and Ola Cars.[3] As of September 2019, it also owns a 6% stake in the electric scooter manufacturing company Ola Electric.[15]

Ride hailing[edit]

Ola Cabs offers different levels of service, ranging from economic to luxury travel.[16] The cabs are reserved through a mobile app and also through their website and the service accepts both cash and online payments. It claims to clock an average of more than 150,000 bookings per day and commands 60% of the market share in India as of 2014.[17] As of 2019, the company has expanded to a network of more than 1.5 million drivers across 250 cities.[18]

In November 2014, Ola diversified to incorporate auto rickshaws on a trial basis in Bengaluru.[19] After the trial phase, Ola Auto expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad starting in December 2014.

In March 2016, it introduced bike taxi service on its platform.[20] Ola has faced legal troubles in many states where operating bike taxis is illegal.[21][22]

Ola Fleet[edit]

In January 2015, Ola acquired radio taxi company GCabs for an undisclosed amount and renamed it as Ola Fleet Technologies.[23] Ola Fleet is engaged in leasing of cabs to partnered drivers.[24]

Ola Financial Services[edit]

In November 2015, Ola launched its mobile payments and wallet product called OlaMoney.[25] OlaMoney is owned by Ola Financial Services, which also offers financial products such as insurance, credit cards and vehicle loans.[26][27][28]

Ola Foods[edit]

Ola entered food delivery segment in December 2017 with the acquisition of Foodpanda's Indian subsidiary for an undisclosed sum. Ola also announced that it would infuse up to $200 million in the food delivery service.[29] While the number of users and orders went up in 2018 due to discounts and offers, the numbers dropped sharply in early 2019. In June 2019, it stopped food delivery service and laid off most of its 1,500 delivery executives. However, it continued to operate Foodpanda's cloud kitchen business.[30] As of 2021, Ola Foods operates more than 50 cloud kitchens, including its flagship brand called Khichdi Experiment, in six cities.[31][32]

Ola Cars[edit]

In 2021, Ola launched its new and pre-owned car marketplace called Ola Cars in 30 cities. The platform is also expected to sell new vehicles of Ola Electric and other brands.[33][34]



Ola Cabs' technology came under criticism regarding the security of its mobile app. The API calls could be replayed to top up its wallet.[35]

In August 2016, a privacy breach occurred when customers' details such as names, phone numbers and addresses, in Bangalore, were received as SMS messages by an individual in Chennai. Although these unanticipated messages were reported to Ola, the company ignored them, even under the threat of being reported to the TRAI.[36] The issue was reportedly fixed three weeks later after receiving considerable media coverage and social media attention.[37]

On January 19, 2020, a technical glitch caused multiple users to receive notifications such as "Your ride is on the way" or "Your ride is here" despite them not even attempting to book through the platform. In some cases, cancelling the ride even attempted to automatically book another ride.[38]

Overcharging and lack of transparency in charging[edit]

The refund policy of Ola Cabs has been criticised because of charging errors caused by technical glitches in their system.[39] Surge pricing has been an issue with customers, as Ola is said to initially eliminate competition by lowering prices, and then hiking up prices through what it calls surge pricing. The fact that the same ride can cost different amounts depending on the time, day and the profiles, history and rating of the driver as well as passenger has also incurred much customer wrath.[40]

Driver concerns[edit]

Ola from January 2017 has been highly criticised for continuously dropping the driver incentives which in turn is affecting driver-partner's monthly income. Most nowadays fail to cope with their monthly EMIs and other dues. Daily income of cab drivers is now equal to auto drivers running in the city after deducting all dues.[41]

Charges comprise:

  • Base fare (fixed amount)
  • Distance fare (charged per kilometre)
  • Ride time fare (charged per time taken to travel)
  • Peak pricing (direct ratio depending on demand for cabs)[42]
  • GST (5%)
  • Toll charges (toll collection if crossing a toll junction)

Ola and Uber have also been criticised due to their practice of baiting drivers and passengers, initially with discounts and bonuses, and then hiking up fares without passing the proceeds to drivers. Their practice of taking large signing up amounts from drivers and not considering them employees has also been criticised. Both companies contractually treat drivers as "contractors" thus excusing themselves from any legal obligations.[40] In an interview, Pranay Jivrajka, a co-founder of OLA, claimed that the company will be creating 5 million new "opportunities" in the next five years. He was, however, careful not to use the word jobs for these opportunities. He added that it was not just about jobs but creating an ecosystem.[43]

Assaults on and Murders of Ola cab drivers[edit]

There have been 11 cases of murders, and over 90 cases of kidnapping and robbery of drivers working for app-based cab aggregators including Ola, by criminals posing as passengers using fake profiles.[44] The most recent case happened in the city of Pune in June 2019 when a passenger killed the driver to steal his car.[45] Two other murders of Ola drivers by robbers took place in New Delhi and Agra respectively.[46]

Congestion externalities[edit]

A recent study has shown that Ola may be contributing significantly to congestion in three major Indian cities - Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi.[47] The adverse congestion effects were found to be the highest in the busiest areas of each city during peak hours. The study also reported that many who use these services would have otherwise used more efficient forms of public transport, such as the Delhi Metro.

Driver credibility[edit]

Panic button for passengers in an Ola car in Kolkata

Delhi Transport authority in early 2015 questioned the credibility and required verification of drivers working for Ola, along with other competitors such as Uber. The inquiry revealed that approximately 80% of drivers amongst all services did not possess permits to ply commercial transport services in Delhi.[48] Drivers also protested[49] outside the Kukatapally, Hyderabad office of Ola, demanding more transparency over payments.


  1. ^ Technologies, Olacabs - ANI. "About us - Car rental - car hire - taxi India - olacabs.com". olacabs.com.
  2. ^ "Ola revenues rise by 38% as losses take a 9% drop during FY19". entrackr.com. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b Bhalla, Tarush (2 November 2021). "Ola posts operating profit in FY21 ahead of likely share sale". mint. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  4. ^ Dalal, Mihir (9 June 2020). "How Ola is hunkering down to ride out the storm". livemint.com. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  5. ^ "Would an Ola-Uber Merger in India Get the Competition Commission's Approval?". The Wire. 29 April 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  6. ^ "India's Ola forays into New Zealand in latest overseas push". Reuters. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Ola starts in London with over 25,000 drivers". Business Traveller. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  8. ^ Shrivastava, Aditi (29 January 2015). "Olacabs to buy TaxiForSure to take on competitors like Uber; deal likely at Rs 1,250 crore". The Economic Times.
  9. ^ Mandal, Suchayan (25 June 2015). "Ola cabs app and Taxi For Sure get into a relationship. Twitter trolls prove how complex it is". Business Insider India.
  10. ^ Russell, Jon (17 August 2016). "Ola confirms it has shut down TaxiForSure, the rival it acquired for $200M". TechCrunch.
  11. ^ Russell, Jon (18 December 2017). "Uber rival Ola buys Foodpanda India to get into food deliveries". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  12. ^ Chaudhary, Suman (3 April 2018). "Ola Acquires Mumbai-based Public Transport Ticketing App Ridlr". IndianWeb2.com. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Ola, Uber's India rival, invests $100M in scooter rental startup Vogo". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Ola cabs banned in Bengaluru for licence violation - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  15. ^ "The Curious Case Of Bhavish Aggarwal And Ola Electric". Moneycontrol. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Ola aims to counter Uber with its Biz-class service". The Economic Times. 2 September 2014.
  17. ^ Abudheen, Sainul K (19 November 2014). "Ola now has $250-300M annual gross transaction run rate; peek at its numbers - VCCircle". VCCircle.com.
  18. ^ "Inside the data driven model of Ola with Sanjay Kharb, VP- Engineering, Ola - ET CIO". ETCIO.com. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  19. ^ "Now Book Auto Rickshaws in Bangalore via Ola Cabs". NDTV Gadgets. 20 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Ola, Uber launch bike taxi service in Bengaluru today; price as low as Rs 2 per km". The Financial Express. 3 March 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  21. ^ Menezes, Naveen; Peermohamed, Alnoor (23 March 2019). "Karnataka suspends Ola permit for six months over bike taxis". The Economic Times. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Ola suggests government way to legalise bike taxis; asks banks to ease loan process for drivers". The Financial Express. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  23. ^ Chakraborty, Sayan (1 March 2017). "Ola invests Rs50 crore in cab leasing unit Ola Fleet". mint. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Ola waives off lease rentals for driver-partners". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  25. ^ Verma, Shrutika (13 November 2015). "Ola enters mobile payments space with Ola Money". mint. Retrieved 24 November 2021.
  26. ^ SH, Salman (26 May 2020). "Ola's financials services arm raises ₹200 crore, CEO Nitin Gupta quits". mint. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  27. ^ "Ola Financial Services to expand insurance business internationally". Business Standard India. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  28. ^ Panday, Amit (16 May 2019). "Ola launches credit card in tie-up with SBI Card". mint. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  29. ^ Russell, Jon (18 December 2017). "Uber rival Ola buys Foodpanda India to get into food deliveries". TechCrunch. Oath Inc. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  30. ^ Salman S.H., Varsha Bansal (22 May 2019). "Ola drops Foodpanda delivery, lays off several employees". LiveMint. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  31. ^ SH, Salman (9 September 2020). "Ola Foods holds QSR plans, to focus on meal kits and private brands". mint. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  32. ^ Soni, Yatti (20 October 2021). "Ola Foods plans to launch a burger brand". Business Line. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  33. ^ "Ola launches Ola Cars platform for buying, selling, financing vehicles". mint. 7 October 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Ola Cars eyes $2 billion in GMV in 12 months, to hire 10,000 people". The Economic Times. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  35. ^ Aggarwal, Varun; Murali, Malavika (20 March 2015). "Taxi aggregator Ola hit by tech glitches that allow free rides". The Economic Times.
  36. ^ Anand, Kunal (30 August 2015). "Ola Cabs Accidentally Reveals Customer Data To Chennai Girl, And Doesn't Care". Indiatimes.com.
  37. ^ "Ola leaked its customers data, claims user; company blames manual error". The Indian Express. 1 September 2015.
  38. ^ Sil, Debarghya (20 January 2021). "Technical Glitch: Ola App Sends False Booking Notifications To Users". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  39. ^ "Decoding OLA Cabs Billing Issues – Ola ka Gola!". Trak.in. 13 May 2015.
  40. ^ a b "Ola, Uber and the Precarious Future of Blue Collar Platform Workers". The Wire. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Ola, Uber cut driver pay by a third in 1 year". economictimes.com. 18 September 2017.
  42. ^ "Peak Pricing: The what, why, and how of it |". blog.olacabs.com.
  43. ^ Ravi Agrawal (1 October 2018). India Connected: How the Smartphone is Transforming the World's Largest Democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-19-085867-4.
  44. ^ https://dbpost.com/not-only-passengers-even-cabbies-are-at-risk-of-getting-killed/
  45. ^ "Pune: Two men book Ola cab to murder driver, steal car" (June 24, 2019). The Indian Express. Express News Service. 24 June 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  46. ^ HT Correspondent. "Delhi Police arrest two men for Ola cabbie's murder". Hindustan Times (August 29, 2018). Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  47. ^ Agarwal, Saharsh; Mani, Deepa; Telang, Rahul (2020). "The Impact of Ride-hailing Services on Congestion: Evidence from Indian Cities". SSRN.
  48. ^ "80% of Uber, Ola does not have permits to ply in Delhi, says minister". The Indian Express. 19 June 2015.
  49. ^ Reddy (30 December 2016). "Cab Drivers Attack Ola Office in Kukatpally". Newshub. Retrieved 6 May 2018.

External links[edit]