Ola, India’s largest home-grown mobile app for personal transportation, has announced the launch of its social ride-sharing service, which has been in the works for the past few weeks.
Dubbed ‘Share’, the service will be initially available only to select users in Bangalore and five other cities over the next three months.
The USP of Share is that unlike other platforms such as Uber, Tripda or BlaBlaCar, where customers share their rides with strangers, Ola enables users to carpool with people from social groups they choose to be part of.
Tripda and BlaBlaCar are two European ride-sharing startups with significant operations in India, while Uber stepped into this space only recently.
To enable the new service, Ola has introduced the concept of social groups on its app.
With ‘Groups’, colleagues from a workplace and friends from a college can come together to share rides amongst themselves.
A user can join multiple groups or simply choose to share a ride with anyone.
As soon as a user requests a Share ride on the app, they will be matched with other users from their groups along their way.
“With Share, we not only bring economy, convenience and comfort of travelling with people in your circles, but also increased inventory utilisation of vehicles on the platform. This will also contribute towards significant reduction of traffic, congestion and pollution in our cities,” said Ishan Gupta, Head of Ola Share.
Founded in January 2011, Ola is present in over 100 cities and has over 250,000 cabs, 75,000 auto rickshaws, Kaali Peeli (black and yellow) taxis and yellow taxis on its platform. The app is available on Windows, Android and iOS platforms.
Ola will also face competition from a slew of domestic players such as Zupp and Ryde (owned by ibiboGroup).