Online cab aggregator Ola claims that it is going app only from next month across its 100 cities of operation. For the uninitiated, Ola also let users book cabs by calling 3355-3355 before this move. The company states that this number will now be used for call centre operations (customer support).
Interestingly, on calling the customer support number, I was informed that Ola does not take bookings through phone anymore. The executive also told me that they’d stopped phone bookings about 2 months ago. After the call, I got an SMS from Ola asking me to download the app to get a ride.
The company has also updated the app to better support content loading on 2G networks, it said in a statement. The app will reportedly allow users to save on their data usage and work even in areas of poor connectivity.
Ola claims that 99% of its bookings (over 95% in smaller cities) come through the app, as compared to 20% at the time of launch in 2011. Ola also claims that over 90% of its users use the ‘Ride Now’ option from its app, as opposed to the ‘Ride Later’ option when one can schedule cab pick ups for later.
TFS hatchback integration: Late last month, 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. Note that the TaxiForSure hatchback cars would only be available for the “ride now” option in the Ola app, while the other transport categories in Ola would continue to offer ride booking for later times. The TaxiForSure app would continue to operate with all categories.
Note that TaxiForSure lets people book cabs on desktop, through its app, over phone (Rs 25 extra for phone booking) as well as through the mobile website. It appears as if Ola does not have immediate plans for TFS to go app-only.
Previous Ola developments:
– Last week, we reported that Ola was reportedly planning to start a shuttle bus service on its platform, aggregated from tourist and chartered buses. The bus service will be available for urban commuters.
– Earlier this month, Chairman emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in Ola in his personal capacity.
– Ola appointed Sundeep Sahni as the VP of new initiatives
– ANI Technologies came out with a standalone application for hyperlocal groceries delivery called Ola Store. The service debuted in Bangalore and claimed to have over 12,000 products in 13 categories.
– In April, Ola had 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. In the same month, it had also raised $315 million funding led by DST Global, with participation from existing investors Tiger Global, Accel Partners and Steadview Capital.
Image Credit: Flickr user Tanmayee Deshprabhu