Online cab aggregator Ola is allegedly planning to start a shuttle bus service on its platform, which will be aggregated from tourist and chartered buses, reports ET. The bus service will be available for urban commuters. We’ve reached out to Ola multiple times for more information on this, and will update when we hear from them.
The report claims that Ola will only act as an aggregator, and will launch the service by September or October. The services will be integrated into the Ola app as a separate option, along with cabs and autos. The report claims that users will be able to avail this service by entering the destination and time, after which the app will display the nearest buses with available seats.
Personnel changes at Ola: Apparently, Ola has put Sundeep Sahni, who it appointed as its VP of new initiatives last week, in charge of this task. Earlier this month, Pallav Singh, the senior VP of operations at Ola, took over as the CEO of TaxiForSure after Arvind Singhal resigned as its CEO. In the same time, Ola appointed Arun Sarin as an independent director to its board of directors. This month, Ola also saw an undisclosed amount of investment from chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata.
Ola claims to have 150,000 registered vehicles on its platform and is operational in 100 cities in the country. In March Ola acquired its rival TaxiForSure for $200 million.
Ola-TFS hatchback Integration: Late last month, Ola started integrating TaxiForSure’s hatchback cars into Ola’s own booking app. The integration was visible only to Delhi and Mumbai users for starters and would be rolled out to other cities in phases. TaxiForSure rides booked through Ola could only be paid for in cash. TaxiForSure, which is targeting 20 million customers for this year, claimed that the Ola hatchback integration would help it achieve this target.
Regulatory issues: Last month, the Delhi Court passed an order stating that the Delhi Transport Department could not reject the radio taxi licenses of Apra Cabs India Pvt Ltd and Serendipity Info Labs Pvt Ltd (subsidiaries/associates of Ola and TaxiForSure respectively) on the basis that they had failed to submit a sworn affidavit, which declared that Ola/TaxiForSure were complying with the ban imposed by the Delhi government. The radio taxi license saga timeline here.
Ola Grocery Delivery? In April, we’d reported that Ola was looking to diversify its services by foraying into grocery delivery as a business. Ola had put up an advertisement on BabaJobs looking to hire delivery executives Bangalore.
Nikhil adds: If this happens, Ola would essentially end up competing with the likes of Redus and Travelyaari, both platforms that are used for interstate bus booking. There is, of course, a different demand-supply equation in case of interstate bus booking, wherein people tend to book these buses much in advance. However, there is still an opportunity in helping change consumer behavior, and make it more realtime: earlier people used to book taxis (unless they’re in Mumbai) much in advance. Now, it’s entirely realtime, and people are substituting using cars with Ola and Uber. Uncertainty in interstate bus booking might actually be addressed by such a model.
Update: headline edited