Online cab aggregator Ola has added free WiFi, ‘superior cars’, best rated drivers, and an opportunity to meet Narain Karthikeyan, Abish Mathew and Milind Soman through its ‘Select’ program for riders taking Ola Prime rides in Bangalore. Ola Prime is available in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Jaipur and is a drop service through sedans and SUVs.
Ola launched the rewards and loyalty program called ‘Ola Select’ for its frequent customers last month. At that time, Select users would be able to use free WiFi, no-cost upgrades, discounts and ‘exclusive benefits’ from partners Myntra,Snapdeal and Cleartrip. Ola claimed that it was inviting users to the Select program based on their usage behavior and frequency, among other parameters.
Ola says that the Prime for Ola Select users was launched on 8 September at an introductory fare of Rs 13/km, with a base fare of Rs 100 for the first 4 kms, and Re 1/min (charged even for the first 4 kms). It claims to have over 500 cars in the Prime category in Bangalore.
Note that late last month, Ola’s rival Uber and telecom operator Bharti Airtel entered into a strategic partnership to allow Mumbai’s Uber riders to pay with Airtel Money in their cab rides in India. Airtel said that all of Mumbai Uber cabs would also be equipped with free Airtel 4G WiFi for usage, and that this service would be launched across India soon. Airtel will become Uber’s official telecom partner.
Earlier this month, Ola partnered with Indian Oil (IOCL) to provide its drivers cashbacks of Re 1 for every liter of fuel filled at IOCL stations across India. The program would also extend to CNG fuelling in Delhi. The company would also set up mobile contact centres at IOCL CNG stations to talk to driver partners who’d want to register on the platform.
Drivers charged for using the platform
This month, Ola and rival Uber started charging their drivers Rs 300 a week to try and prevent them from using other aggregating platforms. This charge, which applies regardless of usage, is being attributed to phone, mobile Internet connections and other services provided by the aggregators.
Kolkata’s yellow taxis on Ola
The online cab aggregator also introduced Kolkata’s yellow taxis on its platform. The company claimed to have over a 1,000 yellow taxis on the app already and said that it would register overall 5,000 taxis in the next 3 months. Ola has provided the taxi drivers with smartphones which will help them accept rides and navigate to the location.
Pay for Oyo Rooms through Ola Money
Ola Money, online cab aggregator Ola’s in app wallet for payments, can be used to pay for other companies like Oyo Rooms, Lenskart and Saavn among others across India. Ola Money users will also be offered promotional cashbacks and discounts from merchants in the initial roll out integration. Ola told MediaNama that it has tied up with ZipCash for its wallet services.
Ola goes app only
In July, the online cab aggregator stated that it was going app only from this month across its 100 cities of operation. Ola used to let users book cabs by calling 3355-3355 before this move, which will now be used for call centre operations (customer support). The company also updated the app to better support content loading on 2G networks, it said in a statement. The app would reportedly allow users to save on their data usage and work even in areas of poor connectivity.
In late June, Ola started integrating TaxiForSure’s (TFS) hatchback cars into Ola’s own booking app. The integration was visible only to Delhi and Mumbai users for starters and was to be rolled out to other cities in phases over the next few weeks. The TaxiForSure app would continue to operate with all categories.
Last month, TaxiForSure said that it was shutting down its independent brand in 22 cities and migrating to Ola. The company said that it was transferring all TFS credits to the user’s bank account and all the promotional credits would be migrated to Ola Money.
Our Ola coverage here.