Update on April 21: Ola is now operating emergency rides for non-COVID19 medical cases in 15 cities: Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Nashik, Varanasi, Indore, Bhopal, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Mohali, Rourkela, and Bhubaneswar. The company has worked with state governments to enable this service. Services to 200 hospitals in Mumbai were rolled out today. An Ola spokesperson said “thousands of citizens have availed the service” since launch.
On April 7, Ola began accepting rides for “essential medical trips” to over 200 hospitals in Bangalore for a “nominal charge”, the company said in a statement. These rides are for non-COVID-19 cases and for medical trips that do not require an ambulance. Cabs can be booked from any location to one of the 200 hospitals in the city. The company has worked with the Karnataka health ministry, which provided the permissions, to make Ola Emergency cabs available; the services will be launched in other major cities. Karnataka health minister B. Sriramulu said all “108” ambulances are being used for COVID-19 relief, and commended Ola for offering the service.
We have reached out to Ola for more details and will update the story accordingly.
We are bringing 'Ola Emergency' to #Bengaluru to help with trips to and from hospitals for citizens in collaboration with the Govt of KA. We thank @sriramulubjp in enabling this much needed essential mobility service during these difficult times. https://t.co/uvu1gjW84B #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/YAUXhm8AKk
— Bhavish Aggarwal (@bhash) April 7, 2020
Cars will be equipped with masks and sanitisers and will be operated by “specially trained drivers”, as per the company statement. Ola said that it was working with authorities to ensure this, and that the service was only used for non-coronavirus medical travel that does not require an ambulance or medical interventions such as dialysis, chemotherapy, scheduled check-ups and physical injuries among others.
Ola’s competitor Uber is also offering rides in Gurgaon to 207 select essential services locations, including a COVID-19 private testing lab, hospitals, pharmacies, and convenience stores.