|Founded||3 December 2010|
|Bhavish Aggarwal (CEO) |
Ankit Bhati (CTO)
|Products||Mobile app, website|
|Revenue||₹2,544 crore (US$360 million) (FY 2019)|
Number of employees
Ola Cabs (stylised as OLΛ) is an Indian ridesharing company offering services that include vehicle for hire and food delivery. The company is based in Bangalore, Karnataka, India and was developed by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. As of October 2019[update], Ola was valued at about $6.5 billion A variety of venture capitalists including Softbank have large stakes in the company.
Ola Cabs was founded on 3 December 2010 as an online cab aggregator in Mumbai, and is now based in Bangalore. As of 2019, the company has expanded to a network of more than 15 lakh (1.5 million) drivers across 250 cities. In November 2014, Ola diversified to incorporate auto rickshaws on a trial basis in Bangalore. After the trial phase, Ola Auto expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad starting in December 2014.
In January 2018, Ola extended into its first overseas market, Australia, and in New Zealand in September 2018. 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.
In March 2015, Ola Cabs acquired Bangalore-based taxi service TaxiForSure for approximately ₹1,394 crore (US$200 million). June 2015 onwards, Ola users gained access to TFS cabs via the Ola mobile application. Later in the year in November, Ola further acquired Geotagg, a trip-planning applications company, for an undisclosed sum.
In a move to expand beyond cab aggregation, Ola acquired struggling foodtech company Foodpanda with an eye on leveraging the growing food delivery segment business in December 2017. In April 2018, Ola made its second acquisition with Ridlr (formerly Traffline), a public transport ticketing app. Later in August 2018, Ola financed Series A funding of the scooter rent startup Vogo, and again in December, invested another $100 million.
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.
Ola offers different levels of service, ranging from economic to luxury travel. The cabs are reserved through a mobile app and also through their website and the service accepts both cash and cashless payments with Ola money. It claims to clock an average of more than 1,50,000 bookings per day and commands 60% of the market share in India as of 2014.
Ola Electric Mobility
Ola spun off its electric vehicles business into a separate unit called Ola Electric Mobility with US$56 million of funding capital in February 2019. The funding was provided by Tiger Global and Matrix India. Apart from electric vehicles, Ola Electric also works on charging solutions, EV batteries and developing viable infrastructure to allow commercial EVs to operate at scale. The company announced on 6 May 2019 that Ratan Tata had invested an undisclosed amount in Ola Electric as part of its Series A round of funding.
Ola Electric acquired Amsterdam-based EV startup Etergo on 27 May 2020 to launch own line of electric scooters in 2020.
Ola Cabs' technology came under criticism regarding the security of its mobile app. The API calls could be replayed to top up its wallet.
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. The issue was reportedly fixed three weeks later after receiving considerable media coverage and social media attention.
0n 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.
Overcharging and lack of transparency in charging
The refund policy of Ola Cabs has been criticised because of charging errors caused by technical glitches in their system. 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.
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.
- 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)
- 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. In an interview, Pranay Jivrajka, a co-founder of OLA, claimed that the company will be creating 50 lakh new "opportunities" in the next five years. He was, however, careful not use the word jobs for these opportunities. He added that it was not just about jobs but creating an ecosystem.
Assaults on and Murders of Ola cab drivers
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. The most recent case happened in the city of Pune in June 2019 when a passenger killed the driver to steal his car. Two other murders of Ola drivers by robbers took place in New Delhi and Agra respectively.
A recent study has shown that Ola may be contributing significantly to congestion in three major Indian cities - Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi. 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.
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. Drivers also protested outside the Kukatapally, Hyderabad office of Ola, demanding more transparency over payments.
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