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Ola acquires Geotagg to boost its intra-city bus shuttle service


Online cab aggregator Ola has acquired Geotagg, a company which provided transport solutions across web, mobile and kiosks, especially for public transportation, for an undisclosed amount, reports ET. MediaNama sources have confirmed the development. We’ve also written to Ola and are awaiting their response. Ola will reportedly use the Geotagg technology to strengthen its intra city bus shuttle service, which will pilot in Delhi NCR. ET said that Ola will invest Rs 120-150 crore ($18-22 million) for this.

Geotagg works on developing e-ticketing applications, fleet management systems, crew management, route optimisation and traffic density mapping systems. It claims to have implemented a fully automated app for tracking the IIT Madras campus buses, where the founders started the company.

Raft mobile app: Geotagg was founded by Akhilesh Koppineni and Krishna Chaitanya. It developed a mobile app called Raft which provides updated transit information to users of public transport. It aims at providing real time travel info by crowdsourcing and takes input from weather, traffic congestion, occupancy, delays and other info.

In September, Ola added bus shuttle services to its platform starting, which at that time, was available only in Bangalore and Gurgaon. It claimed to have 500 shuttles covering 100 routes in these 2 cities. In July, we’d reported that Ola might start aggregating tourist & charter buses on its app, where users would be able to avail this service by entering the destination and time, after which the app would display the nearest buses with available seats.

The company mentioned that the prices for the shuttles will be less than Rs 60 (or $1), while operating exactly like Ola cabs. The shuttles, like cabs, are privately owned, but provide 12 to 20 seats and can only be booked if there are empty seats available.

Personnel changes at Ola: Apparently, Ola put Sundeep Sahni, who it appointed as its VP of new initiatives in July, in charge of this task. In the same 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.

Google’s Delhi public transport app:
As a side, last month, Google launched a new public transport app called Delhi Public Transport Offline, that let users check direction and timetable information about New Delhi metros and buses. The app, designed ground up by the Google Maps team, was capable of displaying timetables and directions offline but required data for news and notifications. In May, updated its Maps app with local transit data for bus and metro information in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune, in addition to railway schedules for over 12,000 trains, via the Google Transit feature in Google Maps on Android, iOS and desktop.

Competition: In this space, Ola will compete with Ridlr, Cityflo, rBus, Shuttl and ZipGo.

Image Credit: Wikipedia user Crispin Semmens

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