My experiences with OlaCabs

When in Mumbai, the black and yellow cabs are my friend. However, there are days you need a car to wait on you, or it is sultry enough in a city like Mumbai to pop into an airconditioned radio cabs. I’ve had it with the regular fleet cab services such as Meru, Mega, TabCabs and what have you, primarily because the cabs do not provide a fleet cab experience anymore. Since demand far outstrips supply, many a times it is a game of dice. You sometimes get a confirmed cab booking or a last minute text message saying the cab company has no cabs to allocate. Cue to flagging a cab on the road to the airport or wherever… All the last minute stress you wanted to save comes right back into play.

I discovered OlaCabs right about this time when I was done with this mess around. Ola works on a different model than the rest of the fleet cabs, in the sense, they are aggregators and not operators. What they have done is to organise smalltime cab operators with 1 or a few cabs under their banner, provided them with the scale and technology to interface with a big set of customers. And the tourist taxi permits which are issued to these cabs are easier to get and without a cap, as compared to the taxi permits issued to fleet cabs, which have a cap in a city like Mumbai, and were stopped from issuance ages ago. Each taxi permit, which is transferable now goes around for Rs. 1 Lakh or whereabouts (USD 2,000).

Which meant, Ola was going to be able to accept a reservation on their website or phones to get me a cab a day, week or a month in advance. And confirm the cab for me there and then, rather than telling me about the availability 20 minutes ahead of the appointed time. There rates in Mumbai, when they started operations were pretty good as well, Rs. 18 per kilometer, which was cheaper than the fleet cabs. Talking about prices, I love the fact that they have a flat out pricing and no different pricing for day and night pricing.

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What also got marks from my side for Ola was the use of technology. There are no meters, but cellphones provided to all cabs, who work with GPS to measure the amount of distance covered and display a fare accordingly. The invoice comes to you in your email. To avoid pranksters or people who may call and then not take a cab, you have to put down a security deposit of Rs. 100 via credit/debit card adjusted against your fare. They also have a snazzy app on the iPhones as well as Android phones for you to locate the nearest cab and bring it to you.

Apart from using Ola as a city taxi, you could also use them for outstation hires and as a local rental cab. The fleet is expansive, and you can get everything from a compact car to a luxury sedan to suit your needs. I have, at various occasions, ended up hiring a compact or a sedan for moving around the city when I have a lot of things to do in one day, and the rates are reasonable for a chauffeur driven hire. Sometimes, you even get an upgrade if they don’t have the cab in your category.  Most rental cabs charge you from their point of origin to their point of return, which in a city like Mumbai can be quite an expense to your pocket because the cab coming to your door could itself be 10-15 kilometres chargeable to you. With Ola, you pay from your door to wherever you leave the city rental, not from the cab company’s starting point.

All the good things said, Ola does not come without its fair share of troubles like other companies would. At one instance, I have had a taxi come up who was supposed to drive me from a meeting venue to home, but the driver was clueless of the directions and drove away to a different direction. I just had to say bye bye to him on a highway because I was not happy with this experience.

Another time, they had hiked their rates from Rs. 18 per km to Rs. 21 per km in Mumbai, and there was no intimation to me by the chauffeur or the company that the new rates would be charged (I had booked those cabs when the old rates were existing). Delayed dispatches and rude drivers (I had both these circumstances in one go this Sunday) are some of the other experiences you should be mindful of.

I reached out to Olacabs in these circumstances, and what was surprising was that the management tried to justify their actions sometimes, in cases where these were not justifiable acts.

Before you do try and check out the service, you should always check out the promotions they have in place, which sometimes make the whole thing worth it. For instance, in Bangalore, they started an airport pickup/drop offer where you could get a flat rate of Rs. 500 from anywhere in the city. The other alternative is the fleet cabs which cost anywhere from Rs. 700 to Rs 900 depending on your point of drop in Bangalore.They recently extended this offer to Delhi, where for Rs. 399 you could get an airport pickup/drop. I used these services twice over the past week.

Another great offer is what they called HAPPYOLA where from 11 AM – 4 PM and 11 PM – 4 AM, you get the city taxi service for Rs. 15 per km instead of Rs. 21 per km in Mumbai. That puts it a shade over the black and yellow and I am happy to pay that premium for a much better service. If you use their app, you usually get a 10% off on getting a cab. In Gurgaon, there is a Rs. 99 Olacab service which helps you get around town. For all of these, however, you have to announce the offer to avail it and will not be given automatically.

All in all, a good travel experience, however, be mindful of the pitfalls!

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Comments

  1. Terrible service provided by your drivers and even customer support is horrible…

    What action have yu taken on that particular driver, there’s no revert . only a complaint no. Has been generated, that’s all.

    I don’t understand how this company Ola of yours work.

    No revert, nothing and such an inconvenience for clients, HORRIBLE YOUR COMPANY AND ITS WORKERS ARE.Your driver named Ranjit got us flight missed and didn’t properly hear us, was rude, and not humble at all. We are seriously disappointed with the way OLA performs and treats its customers. Terribly unhappy and such a big loss we had to suffer with no revert from yur team.

    No support nothing and an ill mannered driver.
    Driver no.
    9650631789

  2. Very unfortunate to share to you about my horrible journey experience with Ola that I booked today on 23.10.2015 at around 3.30pm. CRN No. 138925700.

    Issues:
    1. Firstly it was not Sukhjinder Singh at the driver seat from ola cab no. ‘DL 1 RT 0037’ as the photograph suggested.
    2. He did not come to the place from where he was supposed to pick us up. He refused to enter the colony street. (This is just for your information the street is quite wide and hundreds of cars commute daily from the route. All cabs along with ola came to the same place very easily to pick me up.)
    3. We had to walk 500 metres to ride on the cab as driver did not come to us. We had two ladies, one kid and an old man who was just gone through a surgery from medanta medicity. We all had to walk to the main road. (Just to inform you we could have canceled the cab right away, but, since we were getting late for the flight we found no other option)
    4. Driver arrived late. I booked the cab for 3:35pm and started our journey at 4:05pm.
    5. Car was untidy. You can verify it by surprise checking.
    6. The Driver so called Mr. Sukhjinder dropped us at the arrival of Terminal 1 Domestic airport Delhi inspite of the instructions to drop us at the Departure of Terminal 1. We already had informed him that we had to ride the flight. He refused and told that he knew only this and there was no place as departure side of Terminal 1 according to him. (This is again to inform you that we all had again to walk to the Departure of Terminal 1 from Arrival side with heavy luggage. You can understand the situation of a 55 years old patient, forget about ladies and kid.)
    7. Device was out of order which he used to start the trip and end the trip. The time we started our journey device was good and he started our trip through the device, but I do not know what happened to the device later. I guess he might have switched it off to bother us. I refused to pay what he demanded and called up the ola customer care. Finally I paid him what your customer care executive suggested.

    This is again to inform you that I had to return to my place Shakarpur after leaving the travelers at the airport but I could not dare again to ride ola cab.

    It is quite unfortunate that on one hand you are promising safe and comfortable journey and on the other you have hired such people to serve your customers.

  3. CRN29566832

    Today I booked with Ola Cab for the first time from my office to home and I had the worst experience.If they are going to provide the the same type of service, nobody is going to use their services. And this is not the first incident. Same type of things happened with my friends in the past. If they really need to survive in the market then they really need take care for customer satisfaction. They really need to tell their drivers how to behave with customers. I strongly recommend not to go with Ola services instead prefer to use Meru or TaxiForSure, at least they are reliable and their drivers are well behaved.

  4. CRN29566832

    Today I booked with Ola Cab for the first time from my office to home and I had the worst experience.If they are going to provide the the same type of service, nobody is going to use their services. And this is not the first incident. Same type of things happened with my friends in the past. If they really need to survive in the market then they really need take care for customer satisfaction. They really need to tell their drivers how to behave with customers. I strongly recommend not to go with Ola services instead prefer to use Meru or TaxiForSure, at least they are reliable and their drivers are well behaved.

  5. Today I booked with Ola Cab for the first time from my office to home and I had the worst experience.If they are going to provide the the same type of service, nobody is going to use their services. And this is not the first incident. Same type of things happened with my friends in the past. If they really need to survive in the market then they really need take care for customer satisfaction. They really need to tell their drivers how to behave with customers. I strongly recommend not to go with Ola services instead prefer to use Meru or TaxiForSure, at least they are reliable and their drivers are well behaved.

  6. I booked a cab from Sakinaka to Kandivali for 23:00hrs. Driver Gopal(Mob:9702719624) called @ 21:45hrs to confirmed, i requested him that i vl call him in next 10 minutes, so i called him in 10mins but he did not bother to answer my call, and then my husban tried calling him, then he answered the call, and when asking him to reach the destination. He said that they have cancelled the booking and on top of that he was using abusive lanuage like ” jo ukhadneka hai ukhad lo, jisko complaint karna hai karo”. after this we complaint the same to their customer care, they did not even bother to get back to us, so spoke to their Team Lead Ajinkya, but even he was useless, not even bother to get bak and aslo he was not able to give the satisfactory answer. These people are just here to cheat the customer. I would suggest people not to travel by OLA Cabs, as they are very unprofessional, specially the drivers and even the customer service is pathetic. They don’t know the meaning of Customer Service first of all.

  7. I had booked an Ola cab in Delhi.This was my 1st(and last) experience with Ola. Though the driver and the journey was good, my bad experience with Ola happened post the journey.

    Meter of the cab went off somewhere mid the journey and I got a wrong bill. Ola corrected the distance traveled but charged me extra on waiting time.My whole journey time was taken as the waiting time and I paid extra.

    Since,I was not given the bill after journey,I couldn’t even verify it.
    Later on checking my mail, I found their mistake.

    To top it all, I contacted the customer care many a times,wrote them to get an answer that their is no mistake from their end.
    I was given a justification that I MIGHT HAVE STOPPED THE CAB IN BETWEEN and that is the waiting time.
    Phew…Anyways, if this is the trend in Ola , I prefer more professional services like Meru even at seemingly higher rate but better convenience and customer focus.They deserve what they charge.

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