Just like e-commerce, the war for app-based ride-hailing market-share is intensifying between home-grown Ola and global behemoth Uber. After almost 18 months of Ola Select’s debut, rival Uber is testing a similar kind of service across four metros in India.
According to some media reports, Uber will pilot ‘UberPASS’ in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, which will allow customers to choose top-rated drivers and avail discounted fares.
The company said it plans to offer riders “a consistent and comfortable mobility experience” via UberPAAS. The feature will be available for free for a tiny consumer base in the beginning, and provide riders with exclusive access to product features and experience, including highly rated drivers, discounted fares and waiver on cancellation charges.
“…if our riders give us a thumbs up, we will take UberPASS to riders in other cities as well,” Uber said in a statement. The feature would vary for riders across different cities.
Earlier, in the second half of 2015, Ola had launched “Ola Select” which provides a slew of benefits such as free in-cab Wi-fi, ride without peak pricing, skip booking queue, prime at mini fares, free access to Ola-sponsored events such as cricket matches and concerts.
“We are always thinking of new ways to enhance the Uber experience for our riders. UberPASS is one such product designed to offer riders using our service for their daily commute a seamless and consistent ride experience,” Uber India general manager (west) Shailesh Sawlani said to The Economic Times.
The ‘Ola Select’ membership-based offering is priced at Rs 499 a month. Going forward, it would be interesting to see the pricing of UberPASS.
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Ola and Uber are fighting a fierce war to be the largest cab-hailing platform in India. While Ola is present in over 100 cities, Uber has presence in 29 cities. As per Truecaller’s data, Uber had a share of 41 per cent of total calls, while Ola received 59 per cent of the calls in the last quarter of 2016.
The gap between the two competitors has shrunk from the January to March quarter of 2016, when Uber had 28 per cent share of calls, while Ola had the rest.