Online cab aggregator Ola will be launching 5,100 Ola electric rickshaws on its mobile app in partnership with Bhartiya Micro Credit (BMC) across Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad later in the day today. Ola states that this is a part of the ‘Stand Up India’ initiative and has plans to expand to small towns and Tier III cities in the country.
The electric rickshaws will give cycle rickshaw drivers to ‘upgrade as skilled e-rickshaw drivers’ and sign up on the Ola platform, the company’s press statement said. Ola and BMC will also set up skill development centres in the above mentioned towns to train rickshaw drivers. The statement adds that over 60% of India’s population lives in small towns and that Ola aims to strengthen mobility here using technology and electric rickshaws.
Dr Mahesh Sharma, MoS, Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, said, “.. With Ola’s technology and BMC’s support, we are confident that many cycle rickshaw-pullers will grow into e-rickshaw driver-entrepreneurs, addressing the mobility needs of this country.” It is unclear what the mode of payment for electric rickshaws will be, but we imagine that the usual methods of payment for Ola should apply.
In March 2015, Ola introduced cashless payments for rides on autorickshaws and kaali peeli taxis through its in-app wallet Ola Money across multiple cities.
Ola Auto prices slashed: In February, Ola slashed fares for Ola Auto in Ahmedabad and Indore by 50% each. Ahmedabad users could get an Ola Auto for Rs 4 per km and at Rs 5 per km in Indore. This move came after the company saw an increased demand and revenues for drivers in both the cities.
Norms for e-rickshaw relaxed: In December 2014, the government relaxed its norms for e-rickshaws in Delhi, where they were banned by the Delhi High Court for safety concerns. In October of the same year, the government said that to operate an e-rickshaw, a driver’s license was mandatory and a max speed limit of 25 kmph. In March 2015, an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Bill, 2015 legalised e-rickshaws (pdf).
Uber shuts Auto; Jugnoo funding: Ola’s competitor Uber shut down its Auto operations which were on only in Delhi, while also purging the Pune-Mumbai InterCITY service in December last year. In November 2015, Jugnoo, a hyperlocal delivery and auto rickshaw hailing app, raised an undisclosed amount in a series B round of funding from Paytm.
Previous Ola developments:
– In February, the company announced that it planned to launch Ola Auto, with Ola Share and Ola Shuttle in Uttar Pradesh in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UP Government, and would also provide entrepreneurship opportunities to 50,000 men and women over the next 5 years.
– In November 2015, Ola raised Series F funding worth $500 million.