If you were looking to take a share ride on Ola in Bengaluru or Chennai between 11 pm and 6 am, you can't anymore. Bengaluru-based ride-hailing unicorn Ola Cabs has decided to suspend its ride-sharing facilities to optimise its service, with the earnings of the driver partners in mind.
It is yet to be confirmed if this will happen across the other cities Ola operates. However, news reports suggest the plan will be set in action across all cities in a phased manner. Reports also suggest that this move will make it harder for driver partners to get incentives. Additionally, questions have been raised regarding the security of passengers on shared rides during the night.
One of the biggest advantages of the share feature is the ease of booking when the demand is high, along with its significant role in reducing congestion especially in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Incidentally, these three cities are also the biggest users of Ola Share. The 11pm-6am suspension first happened in Chennai, and then in Bengaluru two weeks later.
An official spokesperson of the company said, "Ola Share is a smart and sustainable mobility solution and a popular choice for commuters during regular hours i.e. 6 am to 11 pm. By matching users who are looking to ride on similar routes, Ola Share optimises 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 11 pm to 6 am on the Ola platform and we remain committed to innovating and building localised mobility solutions."
At the end of last month, Ola Cabs faced a few regulatory challenges when the Karnataka State Transport Authority suspended the cab aggregator for a period of six months. But it seemed to be amicably settled after the company agreed to pay a penalty of Rs 15 lakh.
However Ola has had a great year so far. It announced a strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group worth $300 million from the Hyundai and Kia Motor Corporation, both part of the same group. Last month, the company raised Rs 650 crore in funding from Sachin Bansal, Co-founder of Flipkart. In January, Sachin had invested Rs 150 crore in the company, and committed additional funding. The ride-hailing aggregator has already raised $74 million led by Steadview Capital as part of its larger $2 billion round.