Ola launches rickshaw service in Thane, to charge same basic fares plus Rs 15 fee
Taxi and transportation aggregator Ola on Thursday announced the launch of auto-rickshaws on its platform in Thane, making auto services available in 6 Maharashtra cities now.
Thane is the first city in Mumbai Metropolitan Region to get an app-based auto rickshaw service.
“With the launch of auto services in Thane, we are available in six cities in Maharashtra and 72 cities in the country. This is a step further in creating seamless commuting facilities to our customers,” Anand Subramanian, the spokesperson for Ola told PTI.
“Thane is part of the smart cities plan, and we aim to connect more regions like this for improved access to smart mobility. This is also the first time we are launching Ola autos in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and plan to extend the services to Mumbai as well, soon,” he added.
Owing to the lack of an inter-city rail network and taxis, Thane residents are dependant on autos for their daily commute. But the constant refusals and fare discrepancies had made inter-city travel difficult for most.
Since many between the age group of 18 to 40 are already accustomed to booking app-based taxis, the launch of a cheaper alternative in the form of autos will come as a respite to many.
Ola Autos were introduced in Thane at a rate of Rs 12 per kilometer, with a base fare of Rs. 18 for 1.5 kilometers and a convenience fee of Rs 15. After the end of the trip, commuters would also receive an automated receipt on their mobile phone via SMS.
The aggregator launched the service with a fleet of 250 autos, but has aggressive expansion plans, which include quadrupling the fleet size in the coming days.
Prior to the launch, existing auto drivers had threatened to vandalise Ola autos if they were allowed to operate in the city, but Ola is now trying to get them to join the fleet by highlighting the incremental revenue opportunity.
Nimish Joshi, senior director, corporate development, Ola, said, “The auto drivers will earn at least 30% more revenue compared to what they earn now. Fares are similar to normal auto services, but we have imposed a convenience fee on each ride and a major part of this will go to the driver. Top drivers will get free health insurance, scholarship for their children and a free medical check-up.”
Ola has over 120,000 auto rickshaws registered on its platform across 72 cities, with plans to extend the service in more cities in the coming months.