Looking for an Uber-alternative? Ola is a ridesharing service which has become one of Uber’s biggest competitors. But just how different are they?
We tested out Ola to see for ourselves just how good they are, and share our experience here.
Ola is an Indian-based company currently in direct competition with Uber. It hit Australian shores in January 2019, making it pretty fresh to the Aussie market. It works in much the same way, allowing users to request a pick-up via mobile app and pay using their credit card. Ola has recently made some changes to their service in a push to outcompete Uber; they have improved safety features and now accept Apple Pay.
Ola – Pricing and contract
Drivers are the biggest winners with Ola, with the company taking just 15% commissions from fares as opposed to the 27.5% that Uber takes.
While the pricing structure is essentially identical to Uber’s, customers will benefit from a free cancellation fee if they cancel within five minutes after booking.
- Booking fee: $0.55
- Base fare: $2.50
- Per minute: $0.40
- Per kilometre: $1.45
- Minimum fare: $9.00
- Cancellation fee: $10.00 (if >5 minutes after booking)
Ola also offer quite a few tempting promotions, such as an initial free ride up to the cost of $20. Payment is done via the app by linking your credit card or by using Apple Pay.
Ola – Features and services
While it doesn’t offer a food delivery service (yet), as a ridesharing app Ola definitely does a solid job at what it’s supposed to do. Here are Ola’s standout features:
The mobile application is attractive, fast and easy-to-use. You can setup your entire account via the app and can easily communicate with your driver or passenger. It also provides a convenient mapping system which allows you to track your driver.
One of the biggest benefits of Ola is its extensive and innovative safety features, which are a first in the ridesharing industry. Its one-time passcode allows users to access a four-digit passcode to ensure that the driver is the right driver, and the passenger is the right passenger. This also prevents drivers from starting their trip early to try to charge more. The app also features an emergency button, which allows users to contact a safety team and/or the police in case of danger.
The company is offering a number of special deals, including 20% off airport rides and 50% off for new customers.
24/7 customer support
They provide a 24/7 customer support team for drivers, however support for passengers is lacking.
They are currently partners with Velocity, PayPal, AHM Health Insurance, the Australian Wallabies and the West Coast Eagles.
Their pricing is competitive and is on par with Uber’s, however having no cancellation fees if cancelled within five minutes of booking is an advantage of Ola’s.
Ola – Pros and Cons
Some of the benefits and drawbacks of Ola are:
- Low commission for drivers and daily payments
- Competitive pricing
- Free cancellation fee up to 5 minutes after booking
- Extensive safety features
- Special offers
- Convenient mobile app
- Difficult to find a ride outside of the city
- Potential long wait times
- Poor customer service for passengers
- Not as many vehicle options (i.e. no accessible vehicles, vans or luxury sedans)
- Lack of drivers.
Overall, Ola is a fine alternative to Uber, with competitive prices and decent availability. Its drawbacks are essentially due to Ola being new to the market. It is likely that the more popular it gets, the more drivers will be available. Consider trying it out the next time you’re in the city.
The biggest competitors are: