Ola is set to launch shuttle bus services for less than $1 (Rs 66) per ride.
Ola, which recently diversified into food and grocery delivery, will introduce the shuttle bus service on September 21 with 500 shuttles in Bangalore and Gurgaon.
Operated by Mumbai-based ANI Technologies, Ola will aggregate tourist and chartered buses on its platform for ‘Ola Shuttle’.
“Millions of Indians undertake their daily commute in our cities using their own vehicles, cabs or other modes of personal transportation. With Shuttle, we intend to create a comfortable and reliable commute experience for them at the tap of a button on their smartphones. This will bring in efficiency at scale, for suppliers who will work with us and will help enable mobility for a billion people,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder & CEO of Ola.
The development was first reported by Techcrunch, quoting Sundeep Sahni, VP of new initiatives at Ola
Sahni told the publication that shuttle service would target people who otherwise use self-owned cars, bikes or auto-rickshaws for their daily commute. According to Sahni, the air-conditioned shuttle services will provide WiFi access and in-vehicle entertainment for 12-20 users. It will cover 100 routes in the two cities.
Passengers can track the shuttle service on the Ola app, book their seats and pay for the ride.
Sahni said the company will invest at least $50 million for the new shuttle service.
Ola has been trying to expand the range of its services.
In July, Ola launched Ola Store, the standalone hyperlocal grocery and daily needs delivery app. In March, the company unveiled ‘Ola Cafe’, its food ordering and delivery service in parts of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. Two weeks ago, Ola said that its prepaid wallet can be used to pay for transactions on budget hotels aggregator OYO Rooms and other e-commerce platforms.
While the concept of bus-based shuttle services is relatively new in India, carpooling is catching up in a big way here.
Earlier this month, Meru ventured into this space with a new service called CarPool that allows private car owners to share rides.
Though there are a number of ride-sharing apps in the market, Meru recently became the first taxi company to venture into this nascent but highly advocated business.
Online travel group Ibibo had launched a carpooling app named Ryde in April.
WestBridge Capital-backed Carzonrent India Pvt Ltd, which runs radio cab services besides offering self-drive car rental and fleet management services, recently acquired Bangalore-based 42 Solutions Pvt Ltd, which runs a ride sharing app RidingO.
Cubito, another player in this space, pivoted to become a B2B employee transportation management platform due to its inability to achieve scale.
Accel Partners and Index Ventures-backed online carpooling venture BlaBlaCar forayed into India in January while Rocket Internet-backed carpooling firm Tripda, entered the country late last year.
At a global level, BlaBlaCar competes with Uber, which operates a carpooling service called UberPool in select markets. UberPool is not available in India yet.