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Ola's New Service Quickly Gaining Ground on Uber India

Ola Micro is the company's cheapest offering.


In a matter of three weeks, Ola’s newest ride-hailing service, Ola Micro, has already completed half as many rides as the total booked by Uber India, according to Ola CMO Raghuvesh Sarup.

“The volume in terms of bookings that Ola Micro has done since its launch is equal to the total number of bookings Ola has done in the first three years,” Sarup said.

Ola Micro, which is the company’s cheapest offering at six rupees (nine cents) per kilometer, has already seen hundreds of thousands of users, Sarup told Re/code. Though Sarup declined to be more specific, he did say that of those users, two-thirds had never used Ola before and one-third of them previously only used the service a handful of times.

Micro, as opposed to the company’s midsize-sedan service Ola Mini, provides riders with compact but air-conditioned vehicles that are best suited for short distances.

Micro, which initially launched in only one city, is now in seven, including Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and is on track to complete the same number of total rides that Uber has completed within the next month, Sarup said. According to Sarup, Ola Micro is still smaller in terms of rides completed than Ola Mini but is quickly catching up.

“We see a very strong universal potential for Micro across India,” Sarup said. “It is much more affordable than the most affordable taxi in town.”

Though the company has no immediate plans to change the pricing, Sarup says it will continue to keep a close eye on the market.

“We price the level we think the market is at, honestly,” he said. “[We will consider it] if the market demands a change in pricing.”

As of September 2015, Ola reported that it completed one million bookings and served 78 percent of cab users in India.

In addition to Micro, Ola has launched two other new services: A premium service Ola Prime and Ola Share. Though Uber shuttered UberBlack — its version of a premium service — citing a lack of demand, Sarup says he is confident Prime will resonate well with Ola customers. In fact, the company has added 20,000 new sedans to the platform to meet demand for the Prime service.

“There is a huge market demand for Prime,” he said. “We give the users our top-rated drivers and the best sedans.”

However, like its competitor, the company has also shuttered a few of its experimental services, like its delivery service. “We concluded the [delivery] experiment last week,” Ola spokesperson Anand Subramanian told Re/code. “We have always maintained these as experiments and as a company will continue to experiment.”

Re/code reached out to Uber for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

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