In a bid to takeover its closest competitor Ola in India, Uber, the always-in-the-headlines cab service provider, plans to enable auto-rickshaw booking through its platform in the coming months. In order to get autos on board, the Uber executives have already started test-marketing the services in Bangalore. Though the actual launch of the service might take some months, but once in position, the move by uber is sure to give Ola a tough time.
Ola had launched auto booking service last year in November, starting with Bangalore and now has the option for customers to book auto rides in Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Bangalore. Later, in January this year, Taxiforsure had also launched auto booking service.
The model of Ola works in such a way that auto drivers don’t have to pay the company any commission, but the company pays them a monthly commission of about INR 1500 besides the extra INR 10 convenience charge paid by the customers for every ride. Ola Auto services is only available with an extra convenience charge and that too can be booked only 10 mins prior to the ride. The company, recently has also enabled cashless rides through its In-app Ola Money Wallet i.e. the fare is been deducted from the Ola Money account after the ride and thus customer donot have to carry cash.
With services like the Uber Black in its kitty, Uber has always had the ‘premium’ tag associated with itself. On the other hand, its arch rival Ola has developed the image of being the most affordable ride provider. This move by Uber is sure to remove the ‘premium’ tag and get it one step closer to the customers.
Being Uber’s largest market outside of The US, the company’s management does understand how important it is for them to have a strong hold in the growing Indian Cab aggregator service market and perhaps it is an outcome of the same that Uber, after TFS’ acquisition by Ola has been trying to make all efforts to ensure that it is not left behind. Soon after the TFS acquisition, Uber dropped its fares by 30 percent.
Although this is the first time in the 6 years that Uber has existed that it is venturing into something apart from the cabs, but, we still believe that instead of just copying Ola, Uber should itself think different and introduce some innovative services or plans into the market. Just introducing a product on the same lines as that of its arch rival is not going to work for them.