Tag Archive: Ola



Uber is taking further steps to ramp up the safety of women passengers in India, its largest overseas market. The ride-hailing company on Friday partnered with the Delhi Police to integrate features from the latter’s Himmat women’s safey app.

The quick access to Himmat from within Uber app will act as a “force multiplier,” the company said. Himmat app, which was launched by the Delhi Police in 2015, has over 31,000 registered users with over 90,000 downloads. It allows passengers to send a distress call to the Police Control Room and their relatives in an event of emergency. When a passenger taps the distress call option, a 30-second audio and video recording from the phone is relayed to the authority. It is the first time Delhi Police has partnered with a technology company, Uber said.

Himmat will be accessible to New Delhi residents first, but Uber said it plans to extend the reach to all women passengers in India. More than five million people take rides in Uber’s cabs in the country, the company announced this week.

“Combining access to the Himmat app through Uber is a big step towards strengthening the safety net available to lakhs of women riders. We applaud the efforts taken by the Delhi Police to prioritise safety of women and believe that the Himmat app is a great initiative in this direction,” Shweta Rajpal Kohli, Head – Public Policy, Uber India & South Asia, said in a press statement.

The safety of passengers has been a concerning issue for women in both Ola and Uber cab services. The companies, however, have introduced several features and options – including a panic button in some cars – to strengthen their safety.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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A Delhi court on Monday summoned as accused app-based cab service providers, including Ola and Uber, for allegedly violating permit rules.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra summoned ANI Technologies which runs Ola, Uber India Systems and Serendipity Infolabs which runs ‘Taxi For Sure’ and directed their authorised representatives to appear before it on December 11.

The court’s order came while allowing the plea of NGO, Nyayabhoomi, seeking prosecution of the three firms under various provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

The court had earlier recorded pre-summoning evidence advanced by the NGO through its secretary Rakesh Agarwal, in support of the complaint, which also sought summoning of the three firms as accused.

The NGO, which filed the complaint throught advocate Sumit Kumar Modi, also sought recovery of a whopping Rs. 91,000 crores from cab service providers for allegedly not adhering to rules relating to fares and not operating by meters.

The NGO has also sought recovery of an additional penalty of Rs. 26,000 crores from the firms and jail term for them.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Global technology giant Microsoft is shifting to higher gear in getting more customers on board for its cloud-based services in India as it aggressively targets new as well as existing cloud technology users.

“Anybody who is on the cloud in India and anybody who has the potential to be on the cloud in India is a conversation for us,” Microsoft India President Anant Maheshwari told PTI.

Maheshwari further said: “I am sure there will be a lot of speculation around how, what is the content of those conversations (with potential customers). Unless we have something real that we would have agreed on with the customer, we can’t talk about it.”

The comments assume significance amid reports that Microsoft could invest up to $100 million (Rs. 640 crores) in buying a small stake in cab aggregator Ola.

Citing sources, the reports said the deal could see the ride-hailing service switch to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Maheshwari remained tight-lipped on these reports, instead saying the company doesn’t comment on market speculations. Microsoft has been pushing its Azure cloud service in India. Its competitors include AWS and Google, among others.

In February this year, Microsoft had announced a long-term cloud services deal with e-commerce platform, Flipkart. Later, in April, Microsoft was part of the $1.4 billion fund raising round by the online retailer. Microsoft has already set up three data centres in India to offer secure commercial cloud services in India.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India has joined hands with taxi aggregator Ola to train aspiring drivers-partners.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two, the exercise aims to benefit 40,000 individuals/ Ola drivers-partners in safe driving over a period of three years, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said in a statement.

The Maruti Ola Training Program will create entrepreneurship opportunities for aspiring drivers-partners as well as make urban transportation safe, reliable and convenient, it added.

The pilot phase of the initiative will be rolled out in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and NCR. The driving training programme will be gradually rolled out in Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune.

Commenting on the association, MSI Executive Director, Marketing & Sales R S Kalsi said, “We are glad that through this partnership with Ola, we will be able to expand quality driving training while creating opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.”

He further said, “We target to train 40,000 individuals over 3 years.”

Pranay Jivrajka, Chief Operating Officer, Ola said the partnership falls in line with Ola’s goal of skilling 5 million drivers in the next 5 years and continue to build a conducive ecosystem for them to grow as entrepreneurs.

“We are delighted to work with a trusted Indian brand like Maruti to create a unique solution to skill tens of thousands of aspiring driver-entrepreneurs realize their dreams,” he added.

According to the MoU, Maruti Suzuki would help the individuals/ Ola drivers-partners obtain commercial license and also assist in availing vehicle financing to purchase their own car, after the completion of their course.

Ola will also provide qualified leads of potential drivers-partners to Maruti Suzuki for facilitating them with commercial driving training.

All the aspiring drivers will undergo a 30-day driving training which includes a pre and post assessment tests, to gauge the driving skills of these individuals, the statement added.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


After petrol pumps, cash can now be withdrawn by swiping debit cards at select Ola cabs as India’s largest ride-hailing service partners with lenders like State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank to ease cash crunch.

With banks and ATMs not being able to cope with the rush for access to lower denomination or new currency after old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes were banned, cash dispensing through swipe of debit cards at POS machines was introduced at around 3,700 petrol pumps.

The same is being replicated by Ola on a test basis in its cabs in Kolkata and Hyderabad where taxis with a bank officer and POS machine are parked at different locations and dispense cash of Rs. 2,000 per card.
Ola Chief Operating Officer Pranay Jivrajka told PTI that the initial response has been tremendous and the company was exploring with banks to expand this service to other cities with cash being dispensed on the go rather than current experiment of cars being parked at a particular busy point.

In Kolkata, Ola has partnered with Punjab National Bank (PNB), while for Hyderabad, it has collaborated with SBI and Andhra Bank.
“The week-long activity, that is already servicing thousands of citizens, will continue till end of the month. It (cabs) will visit areas like Chandni Chowk Metro Station, Esplanade Metro, Barabazaar, Salt Lake, Exide and Rashbehari (in Kolkata),” he said.
Cars carrying POS machine are servicing citizens in popular areas in Hyderabad like KBR Park, JNTU, Inorbit Mall over the weekend, he added.

“We are also looking at flagging off the programme in other key cities, including Delhi. The banks are providing on-ground executives to enable people withdraw cash seamlessly,” he said.
Following the government’s move to scrap old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes earlier this month, there have been serpentine queues at banks and ATMs as people lined up to withdraw valid currency.

There have been demands for setting up more mobile ATMs across the country and also refilling them more often as there seems to be a crunch of liquid cash given the long queues.

Ola, which has its mobile wallet service, claimed it has seen 1500 percent growth in recharge of ‘Ola Money’. “The number of trips paid in cash has certainly gone down. More people are now paying using digital platforms like Ola Money and credit/debit cards,” he said.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


A little over a year ago, Ola acquired rival TaxiForSure in a $200 million (roughly Rs. 1,240 crores) deal that saw the two services merge. Soon after that, you were able to book TaxiForSure cars via the Ola app, but now Ola is now shutting down TaxiForSure as a separate offering, and integrating its fleet. The company has confirmed the development via a statement to Gadgets 360 that also admits that some employees will be laid off.

The number of people being laid off could be between 700 and 1000, depending upon various reports, part of a growing trend in India’s digital economy as companies that were able to spend lavishly without worrying about the bottom line, are now being pressed to show profits.

In the case of Ola, it’s been fighting against Uber in India and a recent development might have changed the terms of this engagement. In December 2015, Ola reached an agreement with Chinese giant Didi Chuxing (then Didi Kuaidi) to be part of a global alliance with Lyft and GrabTaxi, to check Uber’s international growth.

This was a big challenge for Uber, and one that tied up a lot of its funds – as late as June, Uber executives were talking about surpassing Didi in 2017. However, Didi’s big advantage in China was in the regulatory space – it’s believed to be one of the reasons behind Apple investing $1 billion in Didi Chuxing – and eventually, Uber decided to merge its China operations with its rival. Uber has taken a 20 percent stake in the combined firm, and by “shedding its massive losses” in the country, Uber can now focus more on India.

As a result, Ola likely has to streamline its operations in order to remain competitive with Uber, as the battle heats up.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Didi Chuxing’s acquisition of Uber’s China business last week reshapes the landscape in Asia’s growing ride-hailing sector, and leaves India’s Ola more vulnerable to attack by Uber in its $12 billion (roughly Rs. 80,232 crores) home market.

Four months ago, Ola executives met with Didi hoping the Chinese firm would invest fresh capital to help it fight Uber Technologies Inc which, with its deeper pockets, has made rapid inroads into India.

They were told Didi wanted first to sort out its own challenges in China, said a person with direct knowledge of Ola’s plans. Didi and Uber have raised and spent billions of dollars in a discount slugfest to win drivers, passengers and market share in China.

Didi, now worth around $35 billion, last year invested about $30 million in Ola, which is also backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, and the two are allies in an anti-Uber group that also includes US-based Lyft and Southeast Asia-focused Grab.

“This (Didi/Uber China) deal changes the dynamics of how they (Didi) will invest in India,” said the person, who didn’t want to be named because the discussions were private. If Didi invests more in Ola, it’s effectively betting against Uber, its new partner in China, the person said.
It’s not clear whether Didi would provide equity or debt to Ola, which has raised around $1.3 billion in funding and is valued at over $5 billion. SoftBank Capital, Ola’s key investor, faces its own financial issues and is selling assets to raise cash and reduce debt, which may pose another fundraising challenge for Ola, which was aiming to raise another $1 billion this year.

Ola did not respond to an email request for comment. Didi said in an email that it will focus in the coming months on “ensuring smooth integration internally.” It did not comment on its meeting with Ola. Didi has no immediate overseas investment plans, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The stakes are high in India, already one of the world’s fastest growing taxi markets. Ola and Uber have burnt through investors’ money and clashed in legal battles over alleged dirty-tricks tactics and pricing.

After the Didi deal, Uber is even more focussed on India, which it has previously called its No. 2 priority overseas market, doubling down on resources, staffing and technology deployed there, said two people familiar with Uber’s plans, one of whom is based in the United States.

Mission India
Ola, founded by two graduates from India’s premier technology institute, commands half of the country’s taxi market as of end-June in terms of the number of cars registered on its platform, according to Counterpoint Research, with Uber on around 30 percent market share, and catching fast.

Uber has previously launched a bike taxi and autos service in India – a sign that it wants to localize transport options and a lesson from China where it focussed on privately-owned cars in big cities, where car ownership has historically been low.

Uber declined to comment for this article.

In February, Uber opened an engineering centre in Bengaluru and has, according to LinkedIn, brought in ex-Google executive Apurva Dalal to lead its India product build. It has also hired more than three dozen engineers in India in six months and plans to add dozens more by the end of the year, said one of the people familiar with Uber’s plans.

Two executives heading Uber’s mapping efforts, Brian McClendon and Manik Gupta, visited India in June to work on making the Uber app more localised and boosting the mapping capabilities, the other, US-based, individual said.

While Uber has pushed into cities and markets worldwide, Ola operates only in its home market. Ola is in 102 cities versus Uber’s 27, according to Counterpoint, and offers a wider range of products – from auto rickshaws to shuttle buses, as well as taxi rides.

The Didi/Uber deal “will put Ola in a corner, and the pressure will rise,” said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint. “The money Ola has will not last forever and it will require a lot of funding with Uber gaining financial strength.”

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


The price wars continue in India, as Uber Delhi cut its rate to just Rs. 6 per kilometre, the same as Ola Micro, which is still being advertised on television as the cheapest cab you can get. Starting from June 13, UberGo fares in Delhi have been brought down to Rs. 6 per kilometre, down from Rs. 8 per kilometre. However, it’s worth noting that Uber’s fares are not the same in every city – as Gadgets 360 had earlier reported, Uber was charging Rs. 6 per kilometre in Chennai already, and Rs. 7 per kilometre in Bengaluru.

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An Ola Micro charges Rs. 6 per kilometre with a minimum fare of Rs. 40, and charges Rs. 1 per minute. UberGo has matched these terms in Delhi. Now, you can go from Rajiv Chowk to the airport for Rs. 185, or from Saket to Cyber City for Rs. 195, according to Uber.

This announcement comes in the wake of fresh funding for Uber – the company raised $3.5 billion dollars, and said it plans to spend a significant amount of this money on India.

Rival Ola has been expanding in a number of different directions, while Uber has been facing legal troubles in India, and around the world, with cases in France, in Germany, the US, and more.

This rate cut shows that despite everything, Uber retains the financial muscle to compete at a local level globally, but it raises questions about how sustainable these rates really are.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


On a day the ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect, taxi aggregator Uber on Sunday brought back surge pricing in Delhi, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to warn the operators of “strong action”.

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Uber had introduced the provision during odd-even scheme, which was objected to by commuters and Kejriwal had asserted that such demand-linked hikes would be banned permanently.

A day after the second phase of odd-even ended, commuters across the city, who availed the services of the app-based cab firm Sunday, found that surge pricing, where fares are raised when demand is higher than the available cabs, was back.

When contacted, an Uber spokesperson confirmed the development saying that suspension of surge pricing was only a “temporary” measure.

Uber’s move came on a day a ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect in Delhi, affecting nearly 27,000 vehicles.

“Some taxis hv started charging surge. Surge not allowed under law. They r warned that strong action will be taken against them,” Kejriwal tweeted.

A senior Delhi government official said that action will be taken against these companies based on complaints.

“We will impound their cabs,” the official said. While an immediate confirmation could be obtained from Ola, another app-based service, its app displayed a message saying peak time charges may be applicable during high demand hours and will be conveyed during the booking which “enables us to make more cabs available to you”.

Ola displayed the disclaimer during the odd-even period as well although it did not invoke peak-pricing till Saturday.

The Delhi government had cracked its whip on these companies on the first week of the second phase of odd-even after Kejriwal termed the concept as “daylight robbery”.

The authorities had also impounded cabs for overpricing.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Even as the Delhi government has cracked down on app-based taxi aggregators for “surge pricing”, one such operator has been overcharging commuters – showing higher toll or state tax.

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Ola has been overcharging on toll and state tax for a ride in the national capital region from Delhi to Noida or in the reverse direction.

While the actual toll charged by the Uttar Pradesh government for a taxi crossing over from Delhi is Rs. 60, the cab operator has been charging higher, sometimes even double.

In reverse, while the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) toll for a taxi crossing into Delhi is Rs. 100 the operator has charged some passengers a higher amount, as the bills generated by the aggregator show.

One complainant, who resides in east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, said she has been overcharged since the beginning of April for the 4.2km she travels to and from work in Noida.

“I am an occasional traveller by taxi and I prefer Ola cabs for commuting from Noida Sector 16 to Mayur Vihar or in reverse direction. A month back the bill used to be around Rs. 170-180 for the 4.2 km distance; but on April 11, I had to pay Rs. 286,” she told IANS, declining to be named.

“When I went through the bills of my ride, I found that Rs. 165 was charged under the State Tax/MCD charges,” she added. There were two other occasions with the same amount.

When contacted the head of corporate communication for Ola, Aditya Bhalla, said they have a “transparent fare system”, where a commuter can check all the details of their ride on their website and also the bill.

When the invoice number of at least two instances of such overcharging were given to him, Bhalla said that if a commuter thinks he or she has been overcharged then they must register their complaint with the customer care service and the company will hear their grievances. He said he would get back to IANS, but till Saturday afternoon he had not.

North MCD spokesperson, Y.S. Mann told IANS: “MCD toll charges for private taxis in Delhi is Rs.100, and if they are charging more, then the passenger must take up the issue with the taxi operators as MCD receives only Rs. 100 from them.”

Another passenger too complained of overcharging on tax by Ola during a ride from Mayur Vihar to Noida.

“I prefer Ola over other taxi operators, but I was surprised to see Rs 120 has been charged as state tax, which is actually Rs. 60 for entering Uttar Pradesh from Delhi.”

The Ola website also says that a commuter needs to pay Rs.100 for entering Delhi from Noida, and Rs. 60 to enter Uttar Pradesh from Delhi as MCD and state taxes.

The Delhi government which has warned taxi operators against surge pricing, said it hasn’t received such complaints so far, but it will take action if people provide them proof.

“We haven’t come across any such complaint as of now. If people have any proof or information about this then please give it to us, and we will look into the matter and take stern action,” Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai told IANS.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)