Ola acquires Ridlr; looks to foray in digital ticketing for public transport

3rd Apr 2018
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Ola today announced it has acquired Mumbai-based Ridlr, an end-to-end ticketing and commuting app for public transport. Post the acquisition, the Ridlr app will be integrated into Ola's existing app. Ridlr’s team of 64 will join and integrate with Ola's team and Founder Brijraj Vaghani will continue to lead its operations within Ola. Other terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The idea of the acquisition is to combine Ridlr’s innovation in public transport with Ola’s mobility products. With this acquisition, Ola aims to bring new technology and mobility options as it looks to expand into and partner with cities in India and abroad.

Ridlr currently has operations in Mumbai and Delhi, and has already tied up with Delhi Metro, Mumbai Metro and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, and has pilots in several other cities.

Brijraj adds the digital technology-driven services of Ridlr and Ola are a perfect fit. Ridlr, he says, has been offering end-to-end mass transit solutions to Indians, making daily commute seamless across different public transportation modes.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Ola

“Ola, on the other hand, has made deep inroads in the realm of urban mobility through its smart ridesharing solutions. By joining forces with Ola, we are delighted to become part of an evolved ecosystem that will act as a one-stop destination for any urban commute in an affordable and seamless manner,” says Brijraj.

Founded in 2012, Ridlr helps users search and book public transport through their app. The team adds that its proprietary IoT devices bring digital capablilites to public transport in India.

In a press statement released by Ola, Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO, said that public transportation serves millions of Indians every day, and powering their needs with real-time information, mobile ticketing, cashless payments and reliable services would impact their end experience. He said:

“The challenge is to make the entire ecosystem inclusive and robust for all. Ridlr, in a short span, has made huge strides in this space, and this latest acquisition lends muscle to our efforts in making transportation a far more holistic service.”

Traffic in India, however, is a big challenge. Modes of public transport in several cities need to be streamlined and made robust. The traffic situation in major cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi has given birth to a slew of bike-taxi and shuttle bus services.

Two years back, Lithuania-based TRAFI had launched in India. Working as an enabler for public transportation, TRAFI works by aggregating and showcasing different transport modes like buses, trains, bike-share and metros and giving route suggestions based on convenience and speed.

However, TRAFI recently shut operations in India as the public transport system in India aren’t robust enough.

While Ridlr solves a similar problem with its integration with Ola, the commuter will now have multiple options. Ola and Uber services are already present at airports, metro and railway stations, and with Ola’s integration with Ridlr, a commuter will now have the option of choosing different modes.

This year, Ola has been pushing towards deepening its presence, not by just expanding to newer cities but also working on its product. Apart from entering international markets by launching in Australia, Ola also entered the foodtech space by acquiring Foodpanda. In FY2017-18, Ola raised $2 billion led by Tencent Holdings, and while the cab aggregator seems to have an on-again and off-again battle with its drivers and the regulators, it has made a significant dent in the market.

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