Online cab aggregator Ola has launched a private carpool category on its app in Delhi NCR, which lets car users create groups and pool rides via the app. The feature is free for use and uses Ola’s route matching algorithms to pool rides. Ola says that the carpool feature has all its regular safety features such as ride tracking, SOS, emergency contacts, in trip feedback etc.
It also features a ‘Friend List’ where users can create custom lists and identify friends to travel with in the city. Rides can be shared with other contacts as well, who do not have to be Ola users. On registering the vehicle and signing up as a user, citizens can click on either ‘I am driving’ or ‘I need a ride’. After identifying common routes, the car owner gets an alert with navigation, on the app.
Ola Share in Mumbai: Ola has also launched Ola Share, the company’s ride sharing service, in Mumbai, after initially launching in beta in Bangalore in October last year. Ola plans to expand the service to 5 other unnamed cities by mid January. The service matches users from ‘social groups’ like people from the same workplace, friends from college etc. Other than friends, users will also have the ability to ride with other unknown users. Ola Share will appear as a separate category in the Ola app, and 3 people will be able to share the service. Like its carpool service, Ola’s regular features will be available on Ola Share as well. The cab aggregator plans to launch Ola Share in 20 cities in the next 6 months.
Shuttle plied on New Year’s Eve: Interestingly, the company said that it organised over 500 Ola shuttles in Delhi NCR, covering 50 routes for New Year’s Eve (NYE). Ola said that it had partnered with over 150 restaurants and pubs, and was used by more than 10,000 people between 12:30AM to 2:30AM. Ola mentioned in its press statement that it had included a host of security measures like a security officer in every shuttle, security officers at all pick up points, response teams and a centralised room for communication and emergencies. Security officers also dropped the users till their apartment gates.
Ola also claimed to have received over 1 million booking requests on NYE, however, it did not say how many rides were completed out of those. In September, Ola added bus shuttle services to its platform in Bangalore and Gurgaon, where the company claimed to have 500 shuttles covering 100 routes.
Shuttle operations were hit: Last month, we’d reported that Ola’s shuttle service Ola Shuttle suspended its operations in Gurgaon for not having got the correct shuttle service permits. Since Ola did not fall under the ambit of Haryana Contract Carriage Permit Act, it could not legally operate its services there.