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Ola pilots hourly rental offering for cabs

ola_feHomegrown cab aggregator Ola has been piloting a new hourly package service, as it seeks to strengthen its offerings amid an intense battle for market leadership with US-based rival Uber Inc.

Under a subhead titled ‘What’s New’ on its Google Play Store page, Ola has hinted at the introduction of its newest service. “Need a car on standby to take you around? Now rent a cab on an hourly package with the all new ‘Rentals’. Available for local travel in select cities,” read a post on Ola’s Play Store page.

It is not clear how and where is the service being piloted. When Techcircle checked with a few users in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi, they didn’t have the ‘rentals’ option on their app. It is also not clear whether it will be a new icon on the existing app or an option in the app index.

Emailed queries sent to Ola in this regard did not elicit a response by the time of filing this report.

The new service—if and when introduced—will add to Ola’s offerings in the intra-city transportation segment. Ola has been introducing a slew of services, leaving no stone unturned in the battle to capture the dominant share in the lucrative Indian urban transportation space with San Francisco-based Uber.

Meanwhile, Uber has been slashing tariffs as opposed to launching new services. Last week, Uber lowered the tariff of low-cost offering UberGO in the Delhi-NCR region to match the fare of Ola’s low-cost offering Micro. In April, Uber cut fares by up to 22% in 10 non-metro cities. Uber, which recently raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund, has said that a significant part of the funds raised will go into its Indian operations.

Ola recently introduced luxury cars in Mumbai and expanded this service to Delhi-NCR last week. Under this service, Ola offers luxury cars such as Land rover, Jaguar, Audi and BMW at Rs 19 per km. In April, Ola launched electric rickshaws on its mobile app.

Since May, Ola has also been relaunching its outstation services in at least 10 cities that include Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. The actual number could even be more. Ola had introduced this service during the initial years of its operations and had later discontinued it in 2013.

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