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Ola will now let its users book a one-way cab to another city without having to pay for the round trip on Ola Outstation. This is currently applicable for Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and Kanpur and Ola will expand to other cities in the next 2 months.

Outstation cabs can be booked up to 2 days in advance and Ola claims that the category is growing 50% month on month. The company states that Outstation is available in 45 cities in the country. In July, Ola tied up with Via.com to let travel agents and customers book Ola rides for local and outstation travel. Note that Ola also has Ola Rentals which lets users to rent a car on hourly packages in Mumbai.

Ola had launched Outstation from Pune to Lonavala, Mumbai, Nashik and Aurangabad 6 months ago and offered Toyota Etios, Tata Indigo and Maruti Dzire cars. At the time, however, Ola’s mail to its users said that users could get a cab to “any city in India” and pay by cash for round trips.

UberINTERCITY

Uber had launched an intercity service from Pune to Mumbai in May 2015 priced at Rs 3,999, which we’d pointed out was a fairly steep price. Uber did not mention the number of seats offered, but even if 4 users took a ride, it would end up costing Rs 1,000 per head. By December 2015, Uber had shuttered the service, likely due to less demand for such a highly priced service. In comparison, local cabs take passengers from Pune to Mumbai and vice versa starting at Rs 500 or so per seat while AC government buses charge Rs 450 for a seat.

Ola app revamp

Last month, the online cab aggregator launched multiple features to inform its users about their cab bookings via rich push notifications from the notification bar. These included peak pricing drops, cab availability, ride tracking, driver and car details etc. It also started accepting bookings on SMS for users without an internet connection, added popular local spots to its app for better mapping in terms of user pickups and let its users share their location with the driver for better pickup efficiency.

Uber’s social integration and app redesign

Note that yesterday, Uber redesigned its app “ground up” to inculcate shortcuts which predict where its users were headed taking into account previous trips and merge their calendars to see their appointments. It said it would also integrate trips with other utility based apps, social media and news aggregators etc over the ‘next several weeks.’