India’s homegrown transportation service and rival to the American firm Uber, Ola today announced a new shuttle service to complement and expand on its taxi offering, with rides costing under $1 (Rs. 66). Ola currently holds a market share of about 80% says Softbank, putting it well ahead of its closest rival Meru at 12%. Seeing as it is, the company seems to be working out ways to expand its reach in India itself.
The new service, led by Sundeep Sahni, VP of New Initiatives at Ola, comes at a key time for the company which is when the company raised $400 million Series E round. The total funding of the company comes out at around $680 million following this round. The rounds are being utilized aggressively to scale the company. According to Sahni, nearly $50 million will be invested in the new shuttle service.
The new shuttle service, which is expected to go live on Wednesday, is initially going to be available in two cities, Bangalore and Gurgaon. It will be launched with 500 shuttles covering 100 routes. More regions can be expected to be added in later this year.
Sahni says that this new service is targeted towards commuters who might normally opt for taking their own cars, bikes or auto-rickshaws. The service will cost you less than Rs. 66 where hiring a private taxi through Ola could cost up to Rs. 300.
The shuttles are going to be one of a kind. You will get luxuries like air conditioning, WiFi access, and in-vehicle entertainment.
There isn’t anyone working on shuttle services in India at this scale. This organized shuttle service will be the first of its kind.
We have a huge first-mover advantage.
Using Ola’s app, passengers will be able to track the location of different shuttles, book a seat and even pay for their ride. The app currently covers traditional taxis, autorickshaws and other private vehicles in over 100 cities in India. The company also says that it serves 750,000+ rides each day with 250,000+ vehicles registered on the app and adding some 1,500 per day on average.