India’s largest taxi hailing service Ola, run by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is estimating a three fold increase in customer bookings from 1 million to 3 million per day by April.
The company, which works as a marketplace connecting customers with drivers using technology, claimed on Monday it had served 25 million customers over 150 million cumulative bookings till date.
Cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber Technologies Inc. have slugged it out in recent months to emerge with higher market share in India by adding thousands of vehicles, expanding to new cities, offering heavy discounts, among other strategies. Ola has 325,000 vehicles on its platform and is present in 102 cities ranging from Mumbai to Madurai.
The company said that it has grown three times in size over the last six months, and sees future growth coming from carpooling services and customised deals for frequent users.
“Our next phase of growth will be fuelled by newer, innovative solutions like Ola Share, Ola Prime and others, which are now being piloted on a large scale in select cities,” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola said in a statement.
Ola and Uber have raised and invested significant funds to further expand in India. Uber said it will invest $1 billion into India over the next one year to gain market share.
However, the road ahead might not be smooth.
Last week, India’s ministry of road transport issued guidelines to regulate firms such as Uber and Ola, identifying them as on-demand information technology-based transportation aggregators and not taxi companies.
The guidelines suggest aggregators must not own or lease any vehicle, employ any drivers or represent themselves as a taxi service, unless also registered as a taxi operator, among other requirements.
It’s reasonable to assume at least some state governments, especially the ones run by the ruling party, will incorporate some of the suggestions, posing new challenges to the cab aggregators’ expansion plans.