Green shoots emerging for ride-hailing firm Ola amid the pandemic

Topics Green Shoots | Ola app

Ola is witnessing an uptick in the business after it announced laying off 1,400 employees
Ride-hailing company Ola, which saw a massive slump during the lockdown, said it was now serving about 50 per cent rides in most of the major cities as compared to the pre-Covid phase. 

After nearly five months of restrictions and reduced activity, the inter-city travel segment is seeing resurgence for the SoftBank-backed firm as more people are stepping out. The Bengaluru-based company said that over the past few weeks, 80 per cent of its outstation bookings on the platform have been for one-way trips. Ola said the recent trends had shown that the ‘one-way trip’ was popular with users, which provides a more economical option as opposed to traditional taxis that charge for a round-trip as a standard practice.

People are choosing ‘Ola Outstation’ that the company said offers a safe, hygienic, and convenient mode of inter-city travel. Insights from the ride-hailing major reveals that people in both metropolitans and tier-2 cities prefer to travel via cabs, allowing them travel to the destination of their choice while maintaining social distancing.

“We have been witnessing a positive growth trend over the past months as cities are opening up and economic activity is restored,” said an Ola spokesperson. “In many of the major cities that have opened up, we are already serving up to 50 per cent rides as compared to the pre-Covid phase.” 

Ola retrenched 1,400 employees (over 33 per cent) in May, due to the  pandemic.

Adapting to the new normal of inter-city travel, the company said Ola outstation offered the highest level of safety and hygiene. This includes sanitised cars, trained drivers who undergo temperature and health checks, and mask-recognition technology to ensure drivers wear masks at all times, amongst other options. 

While Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai have been the major sources of bookings, tier-2 cities, including Patna, Jaipur and Indore, are seeing a large number of requests for out-of-town travel.  

Since the lockdown opened up, Ola’s rival Uber has also resumed operations in more than 70 cities. “We are seeing green shoots and most importantly the recovery is strongest,” Nandini Maheshwari, director, business development, Uber APAC, had said recently in an interview.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel