Ola is in its ninth year of operation in India. With more than one million vehicles, Ola is presently operating in 170 Indian cities that include Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. Biplob Mondal, Operation Team Lead, Kolkata, spoke to BE’s Kuntala Sarkar.
Q. What is the business model of your company?
A. Ola is an app-based taxi booking service where one gets to book a cab from the cities that we are operating in. Prime, mini, micro, Ola bikes and Ola share are the categories. The passengers are charged depending on the travelled distance. We apply a high surge rate where or when the demand is higher than normal.
A definite percentage of the profit goes to the car or bike owners who have registered with us. The rate is equal throughout India. We do not have any direct connection with the drivers. We pay the car owners and they pay their drivers. If a car owner wants to drive the car, we pay him/her directly.
Q. How does your company ensure customer satisfaction?
A. Our passengers are allowed the opportunity to rate our drivers. They can review our service and can also file complaints if necessary. A driver with a continuous poor ratings gets blocked by Ola.
After the car owners register with Ola, they need to submit the details of their drivers following which our company carries out a safety-check process. We also give our customers the opportunity of using an internet connected tablet during their ride. Our premium customers can use it for every ride.
Q. How does Ola ensure women safety?
A. If a passenger feels uneasy during her cab ride, he/she can dial the emergency number from the app. We immediately try to contact the driver and the passenger. We also try to communicate with the nearest police station. We have a committed team for monitoring and responding to such distress calls.
Q. Is your company thinking about new branches in different sectors?
A. We had our own shuttle service in India, which was quite popular among office-goers. We had to close it due to some issues. Apart from the transport and communication sector, Ola previously had its subsidiary named ‘Foodpanda’ that was operating in the food delivery industry. However, that service is not available now.
Q. What are the frequent complaints from Ola users?
A. The major complaint is pertaining to ride cancellations from the end of the drivers. There are also complaints regarding delay in pick-up from location.
Q. Is there any specific plan to combat competition?
A. We are not too bothered about the competition as our company is performing well in India. We intend to continue to focus on customer luxury and safety measures in the days to come.