India’s leading cab aggregators Ola and Uber have always been in a cut-throat competition. While Uber has made its mark internationally, Ola has been a revolution in India. In recent reports, Ola has started making money on each cab ride and expects to be profitable by the year end.
While there are mixed reactions from people regarding the cab service they prefer, Ola clearly seems to have improved its services and included more loyalist riders in its kitty in the last year. FounderINDIA spoke to regular Ola cab users as to why they prefer the company over the international cab aggregator app Uber.
What the riders say
Ready Availability: Dr. Anee Sharma, a regular Ola user says, “Ola cabs are more readily available than Uber or even road auto services. Also, regular customers get several coupons and discounts.”
Location issues: “But there are a few cons to the services as well. Availability during rains is less. Uber gives the option of sharing the current location, which is a hefty task in Ola. In Uber, the location can be easily moved even after the booking. Ola needs to improve here,” Anee added.
Ola Prime: Shikha Sharma, another regular Ola user praises the cab’s entertainment services. “So I wouldn’t say I am a loyalist since my choice of cabs purely depends on what’s cheaper at a given moment. However, the two things that absolutely make me prefer Ola over Uber is the free Wi-Fi in every cab and the concept of Ola Prime.Prime is undoubtedly my favourite thing about Ola, as I feel that nothing’s better than being in control of the music I’m listening to,” she says.
Ola’s Prime Play factor is quite an attractive feature about the app. Most customers compliment the feature including another strict Ola Prime Play user Prashant Wadhwa.
Free Wi-Fi: “I have been using Ola Cab services since a long time now and I’m a happy customer. The cabs offer free Wi-Fi to customers which is a strong puller for me. Ola offers better support services for their customers because of the Wi-Fi and being well equipped with multimedia interface tablet in which one can watch videos and listen to his favourite music for entertainment,” says Prashant.
Poor car maintenance; Hygiene issues: Disappointed with Ola car’s poor upkeep, Prashant says, “The car quality at times isn’t up to the mark. They are quite unclean at times. The AC and servicing should be regularly done. The cabs must also have good car perfumes.”
“Uber doesn’t have any multimedia interface or anything for the entertainment of its riders. The overall user experience that Ola offers is a lot better than Uber, in my opinion. Prashant also appreciates the “Ola Wallet” feature which makes payments easy for customers. The Wallet feature of Ola is a huge plus point as it is a big help while making payments” he concludes.
Ola Corporate: Mahima Goswami, an everyday Ola customer, is all praises for the convenient Ola Corporate feature. “Ola provides a simple yet useful feature of Ola Corporate to organisations in order to take care of the company-travel needs. I have worked with firms where this feature came in handy and proved to be extremely useful for the organisation.”
Mahima also added that the new “Ola Credit” feature is quite helpful too. She said “Ola credit gives us the option of riding cashless, which is an amazing innovation.”
Surge Pricing: “Ola is costlier than Uber during peak hours. The surge in prices sometimes make me re-think my decision of choosing their services,” Mahima added.
And there are many others who are completely neutral with their choice and prefer one over the other according to the situation. One such user, Himanshu Rathee, shares his reasons.
Larger Outreach: Himanshu says, “Ola has a larger outreach as compared to Uber. Although there are times when even this positive aspect is compromised due to Ola’s services.”
Unprofessional Drivers: “There are times when the driver calls to ask our destination and after we tell him, he chooses his convenience over ours and tells that he won’t be able to provide the service. In such a case, the rider has to cancel his ride and even pay the cancellation fee.” Himanshu added.
The Pros & Cons of using Ola
Summing up, riders prefer Ola for its better availability, entertainment service with Ola Prime, easy payment option via Ola Wallet, free Wi-Fi, Ola Corporate for company travel, Ola Credit for a cashless ride, and its availability in non-metro cities. However, the challenges still faced by the company include unreasonable surge pricing, poor maintenance of cabs, unprofessional attitude of drivers who frequently cancel the rides, and unavailability of cabs during bad weather.
A hassle-free ride is what one expects and wants, for a reasonable price range. Cab aggregators seek loyalty from their customers but also must know how to keep it unbroken.
While new technology and innovation is certainly helping Ola make money, customer satisfaction should always be the priority.