The heated action in the taxi aggregation space has revved up a few notches. Even as Ola expands its low-priced taxi service ‘micro’ to 75 cities, the home-grown player is claiming that the bookings for its micro alone is bigger than the overall volume of service of its nearest competitor. While Ola isn't naming its competitor, it is a well-known fact that San Francisco-based Uber is Ola’s biggest rival in India.
Micro is Ola's newest service category comprising of compact hatchback cars which customers can book for Rs 6 per km. The category was first launched in February this year across the top seven cities in the country, including Delhi and Bengaluru.
“Ola Micro alone is doing more bookings on a daily basis than our nearest competitor as a whole with all their categories and its pan India presence,” says Raghuvesh Sarup, chief marketing officer and head of categories, Ola.
“We felt there is a big gap between auto and affordable cab service and wanted to tap into that space with micro. We had an overwhelming response with our first launch in February. Within three weeks of its launch, the category alone had grown to a level in terms of bookings per day which it took Ola three years to achieve as a company,” says Sarup. ‘Micro’ is Ola’s fastest growing category. However, the company did not share the numbers of bookings per day.
Among Ola’s other categories, mini (larger hatchback cars) is priced between Rs 9-11 per km based on the cities, while for prime (sedan cars) category the price is approximately Rs 13 per km. Mini is Ola’s largest category with a presence in 102 cities across the country.
The Bengaluru-based cab services provider points out that there has been an “immense uptake” for its micro category in tier II and tier III towns. “The most recent phases of expansion have been into smaller towns that have very few affordable mobility options. Micro has the potential to grow as the most consumed mobility offering in each of these towns in the near future,” Ola said.
Experts believe the cab service market in India is not yet saturated and that companies need to take the services beyond the large cities.
Launched in January 2011 by IIT-Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, the home-grown cab aggregator, over the last five years, has managed to address the pain points of the largely unorganised cab-services market in India.
The Bengaluru-based company has a fleet of 4,50,000 vehicles including cabs, auto rickshaws and taxis (an aggregated model as opposed to ownership) operating across 102 cities. It is India’s largest aggregator of cabs, taxis and autos. Transport is a compelling need and there is a big deficit in the market.