Continuing with the aggressive expansion of offerings it has been undergoing, Ola has announced a massive, 12 city expansion of its Ola Auto service.
The new cities in which the company has announced its expansion include fast growing Tier 2 markets like Bhopal, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Kota, Surat, Madurai, Guwahati, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Jodhpur, Visakhapatnam and Udaipur.
The service was already available in around 24 cities where there are over 3 million auto-rickshaws, doing well over 30 million rides every single day. And while Uber is still a relatively smaller player in the Auto-rickshaw domain, this expansion (with the kind of capital-backing Ola has) could prove to be a tough challenge for the Paytm-backed Jugnoo.
Ola is now targeting to serve at least 2 million daily rides by end of the year 2017 through its mobile apps. It is planning to do so by getting on-board hundreds of thousands of auto-rickshaw drivers on its platform over the year in these cities.
Using Ola Auto, users can request a ride at their doorstep within minutes, with the assurance of travelling at metered fares. Customers can track their rides on the app and also share their ride details in real-time on a live map with friends and family. It is available 24 x 7 in all the 24 cities, with an ETA of less than 5 minutes.
Along with the announcement of expansion of Ola Auto, the company has also launched a new billing system that will record the details of the trip including time of booking, distance traveled and fare payable, either in cash or through Ola Money. And trust me, going by the personal experience I’ve (and thousand others) had with Ola’s billing, that system needs some serious overhaul.
The company claims that every auto on the platform is powered with a GPS enabled smartphone installed with the Ola app for drivers, allowing them to access continuous demand from customers around them.
Security is a crucial part of such services and to ensure customer’s security, every auto driver-partner on the Ola platform goes through a KYC online and offline dual verification. The company also provides training across behavioral, etiquette and technology to make the ride experience seamless for customers.