Online cab aggregator Ola has started integrating TaxiForSure’s hatchback cars into Ola’s own booking app. The integration will only be visible to Delhi and Mumbai users for starters and will be rolled out to other cities in phases over the next few weeks. TaxiForSure rides booked through Ola can only be paid for in cash. TaxiForSure is targeting 20 million customers for this year, claiming that the Ola hatchback integration will help it achieve this target.
Instant rides only
Note that the TaxiForSure hatchback cars will only be available for the “ride now” option in the Ola app, while the other transport categories in Ola will continue to offer ride booking for later times. The TaxiForSure app will continue to operate with all categories, the company said in a statement.
Ola will basically offer auto, mini, sedan and prime categories to its users with the additional option of booking a TaxiForSure hatchback car ride starting at their lowest fares. The company said that this will allow TaxiForSure drivers to get rides from the Ola platform as well.
For the TaxiForSure hatchback car rides, the usual features of cab location and driver details will be offered along with SMS links to share their ride and location (both real time) with friends and family. Ola claims that registered TaxiForSure users booking a TaxiForSure hatchback on the Ola app will be able to track their booking through the TaxiForSure app as well. Ola claims to have over 150,000 vehicles, including autos and black-and-yellow taxis across 100 cities.
We wonder whether a complete integration of TaxiForSure into Ola is in the works. Will the company slowly transition its categories (in this case, cars) into Ola over a period of time? Ola also probably sees this as an option for TFS users to be familiarised with the Ola app to a certain extent. We’ve written to Ola asking about the number of users they have overall and will update this once we hear from them.
Ola and TFS developments:
Ola’s radio taxi license: Earlier this 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 failed to submit a sworn affidavit, which declared that Ola/TaxiForSure were complying with the ban imposed by the Delhi government. While cab aggregators struggle to operate in India, they still ply owing to their popularity over other modes of transport and ready availability. Read about the entire cab saga here.
Ola user data and wallet hack: In response to MediaNama’s query regarding a claim that Ola, a cab and auto booking service, had been hacked, the company said that the alleged hack was on a staging environment, exposed for a test run, and not its main site. In March this year, Medium user Shubham Paramhans had also pointed out vulnerabilities in the Ola wallet. On tweaking the APIs, Paramhans was able to break into Ola’s money transaction system, allowing him to recharge his Ola wallet with any amount.
Ola’s $715 million funding: In April, Ola raised $400 million in a Series E round of funding led by DST Global with participation from GIC, Falcon Edge Capital and existing investors. At the time of the funding, Ola had earmarked $100 million for TaxiForSure. Ola’s Director of Marketing Communications Anand Subramanian had told Medianama then that TaxiForSure had always been focused on the economy segment. TaxiForSure’s services complemented Ola’s services, and hence the decision to allocate new funds and help TaxiForSure expand further.
In the same month, Ola raised $315 million funding led by DST Global, with participation from existing investors Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Steadview Capital. Ola was also reportedly thinking of getting into grocery delivery as a business.
The TFS acquisition: In February, Ola acquired its Bangalore-based rival TaxiForSure for $200 million in a cash and equity deal. Following the acquisition, Ola and TaxiForSure were expected to continue operations independently while TaxiForSure’s investors were expected to roll over their stock into Ola. At that time, Ola was operational in 67 cities with a fleet of over 100,000 vehicles. TaxiForSure was operational in 47 cities with a fleet of about 15,000 vehicles.
TFS’ Paytm integration, cofounders quit: Last month, TFS revamped its mobile app and added Paytm wallets as a mode of payment into its app. Note that in October 2014, TaxiForSure had launched its own in-app wallet to offer cashless rides. Following its sale to larger rival Ola, TaxiForSure co-founders Raghunandan G and Aprameya Radhakrishna quit the company after they were appointed into advisory roles at TFS.
Image Credit: Flickr user Ashok Prabhakaran