Taxi aggregator Ola launched a new ‘Share’ feature on its app that will allow its users in the city to share rides, making their travel cheaper.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: tech.firstpost.com
I don’t know much about India, including whether taxi ride sharing is something they would normally do there, so for the purpose of this story I am assuming it is newsworthy among other things because it is a departure from normal.
Ola is a taxi company in Bangalore with a difference. I was hoping this was going to be a story about a traditional taxi company, adding services to their core business model, but it appears that, like Uber, this company is a new entrant, founded in December 10. It has over 200,000 cabs in 85 cities in India already. They claim to have 60% of the market in India.
It is based around a similar concept to Uber. Customers use an app to locate and book cabs. It even has its own currency as well as the Rupee.
They have their critics and it appears some of the issues may be significant, for example it appears, many drivers do not have public transport licenses, but again I don’t understand the systems in India so don’t know what is normal from their perspective.
This new service operates a similar pattern to Uber and others where not only can you hail a ride on a mobile app, but you can also reduce your cost by sharing that ride with others.
This is not without its precedents in the traditional industry. I have frequently used airport shuttles for example. They often caused me stress because the traditional model is that you book the day before and they plan a route, hopefully combining real time traffic with the traveling salesman model, but often it feels like you are going in circles and what could have been a reasonably quick trip means either stress, worrying about whether you will make your plane, or frustration being the last on a list of people going home where your the trip has taken twice a long as it would have if you had driven yourself, or been the only passenger in a cab.
Ride-sharing is a great concept and I’m sure we will see many more permutations of it over the next year or two. If it can be made economic, efficient and takes single occupancy vehicles off the road, that is a great thing.
The challenge with disruptive technologies is that they frequently start with a theory, which has to be tested and proven, or modified. It has to overcome legislation (often in part regulated by incumbents who have business to lose), or agencies who have a requirement to consider the safety and resilience of systems, people and technology.
The facts are that the luxuries of life with open roads with single occupancy cars are not sustainable and we have to be open to new concepts and allow them to develop quickly without sacrificing security, safety and transport network capacity.
It appears I am still waiting for traditional taxi and passenger transport models to change instead of being ‘attacked’ by new comers.