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Ola and Maruti Suzuki have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to train 40,000 individuals and drivers in safe driving over the next 3 years. Drivers will be assisted in getting commercial licenses and vehicle financing after the 30 day training program with pre and post driving skills assessment.

Maruti will train drivers through its classroom sessions on vehicle controls and mechanisms, road signage, rules and markings, driving in difficult conditions, maintenance, fuel efficiency and traffic laws. The training will also include soft skills on driving etiquette, bad driving habits, grooming and manners. In practical sessions, drivers will get trained on safe and efficient driving, simulation before driving, risk perception, defensive driving and emergency handling.

The partnership will look to onboard new drivers from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi NCR initially and this will be rolled out to Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune later. Ola will also provide financing options to drivers. Maruti currently has 370 driving schools and 6 Institutes of Driving and Traffic Research where these trainings will take place.

A couple of months ago, Ola launched its first dedicated training center for drivers in Bihar, with plans to expand them in every district in India over the next 5 years. Ola plans to add 5 million drivers on its platform by 2022. It also tied up with Mahindra to offer vehicle financing for drivers.

Meanwhile, competitor Uber says that it will onboard 1 million drivers in India by 2018.

Additional channel of sales for car manufacturers

Increasingly, manufacturers have been focusing on selling cars to aggregators given their rising popularity over the last few years. Its interesting to see a vehicle manufacturer offer driving training to an online cab aggregator. This way, Ola gets trained drivers on its platform, in addition to anyone who has a driving license and a clean record, which is the case currently, and Maruti gets an additional channel for car sales to individuals for commercial driving purposes.

Ola Play and Ola Credit

Last month, Ola launched Ola Play, a cloud based proprietary in-car platform which would let users control the car and driver consoles from their smartphones or through the devices mounted in the car. This was after it launched a postpaid service called Ola Credit which would let its users pay for cab rides a week after they’d taken them.