Leading app-based cab aggregator Ola has discontinued its popular ride sharing offering for Bengaluru between 11pm and 6am from the beginning of this week. This means customers in Bengaluru cannot book shared cabs on its platform in the late hours.
In a company statement, Ola said, “Ola Share is a smart and sustainable mobility solution and a popular choice for commuters during regular hours i.e. 6am to 11pm. By matching users who are looking to ride on similar routes, Ola Share optimizes fares for customers and capacities for driver partners, enabling fewer vehicles on the road. We have hence matched the availability of Ola Share to this time period to ensure value for money and viability for customers and partners respectively. Customers can continue to choose from a variety of mobility options from 11pm - 6am on the Ola platform and we remain committed to innovating and building localised mobility solutions."
While some media reports indicate that this decision was taken keeping in mind the safety concerns, industry sources deny it. One source said, “It is not true that this decision was taken on safety grounds. The Ola platform has a robust safety mechanism to ensure no one has to feel unsafe in a ride."
The source added, ”In that duration, we often don’t get passengers on the same route and this naturally makes their routes longer. So customers often end up paying the same amount they would have paid for a personal cab. This was not a win-win situation as both the driver and customer were losing money. It has already been done in Chennai.”
Ola’s rival Uber has not made any similar announcement.
While shared cabs remain a preferred option for commuters, one cab drivers’ association has said shared cabs services should be stopped immediately.
Tanveer Pasha, President of Ola, Taxi for Sure, Uber Drivers and Owners Association, said, “Not only in the night, they have to stop shared services completely, as it is completely against the Motor Vehicles Act. Nobody knows who their next co-rider is irrespective of it is day or night time. We are already talking with the state government.”