Ola, Uber launch carpool service. But this segment is yet to see any significant success in India

Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Domestic taxi hailing service Ola and its San Fransisco-headquartered rival Uber have introduced carpooling services in India, a segment which is yet to see any significant success in the country despite reducing cost of travel.

Both companies announced the launch of the services, uberPOOL and OlaShare, in Bengaluru. Uber claims an uberPOOL ride will cost consumers about 35% less than a uberGO ride, the company’s cheapest offering in India.

Ola, run by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is offering a ride at Rs50, which the company says is an introductory price.

Uber, on the other hand, will charge consumers a flat fee depending on the distance and time of travel (surge pricing, where companies hike prices depending on demand, will be applicable for cab sharing as well).

The consumers, however, will not be needed to pay more in case they end up travelling alone for dearth of any co-passenger along the route.

The company has already launched the ridesharing services in other locations, including San Fransisco, Boston and China.

“What we have noticed in most cities is that a vast majority of trips begin and end at the same places. We have a few pockets of residential areas and a few pockets of office areas,” said Bhavik Rathod, general manager at Uber, Bengaluru.

However, a consumer availing uberPOOL cannot choose a co-passenger, which may raise questions relating to security of passengers. Uber claims to have ample security measures in place.

Ola, in contrast, has added a so-called social layer to ride sharing, where a consumer can choose a co-passenger from a defined social circle.

Ola has introduced a feature called social groups to address this. With groups, colleagues or friends can share a ride among themselves. A user can join multiple groups, Ola said in a statement.

This feature may reduce a consumer’s anxiety around co-passengers and security.

“With Share, we not only bring economy, convenience and comfort of travelling with people in your circles, but also increased inventory utilization of vehicles on the platform. This will also contribute towards significant reduction of traffic, congestion and pollution in our cities,” said Ishan Gupta, head – Ola Share.

Meru Cabs also forayed into carpooling in September.

Ola and Uber have been competing to grab a bigger share of the market. Ola, which is backed by SoftBank, DST Global and Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s rival in China, has so far raised at least $900 million.

Uber, the world’s most valuable start-up, recently announced that the company will invest $1 billion in India.

This article was first published on Livemint.com

Also Read: India frames rules for cab aggregators like Ola, Uber

China’s Didi firms up anti-Uber alliance, invests in Ola

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.