In an exclusive conversation with FinancialExpress.com, Vijay Ghadge, Vice President - Operations at Ola, speaks of the company's plans to expand across markets, its partnership with search giant Google and what makes Ola Outstation stand out among its competitors.
Ola Outstation, one the most preferred mobility solutions for affordable and convenient inter-city travel in India, says it welcomes competition from other players in the market and believes that it will eventually help the industry grow. Interestingly, Ola Outstation has covered India’s total road length 53 times, covering 17.35 crore km across 800 destinations. In an exclusive conversation with FinancialExpress.com, Vijay Ghadge, Vice President – Operations at Ola, speaks of the company’s plans to expand across markets, its partnership with search giant Google and what makes Ola Outstation stand out among its competitors.
Indians are always suspicious about new products and services. What was the initial response to Ola outstation?
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Customer and technology are at the heart of everything we do at Ola. Customer insight and research forms the bedrock of all our service integrations and launches.
The launch of Ola Outstation stems from our understanding of our customer’s mindset. We found that users are looking for solutions that could make the inter-city travel as reliable and hassle-free as the intra-city commute, and especially, would love to have a solution that could solve for their impromptu inter-city plans.
Within 2 years of its launch, Ola has been able to connect as many as 1000+ cities through Ola Outstation and such a huge engagement is a testament to the fact that customers have adopted the category wholeheartedly. Ola Outstation is second only to the Indian Railways in terms of network and scale.
What is the preferred method of booking among Indians?
At this moment, a customer can book an Ola Outstation only through the Ola app or website.
What makes Ola outstation different from the competition?
Ola Outstation is a ‘made for India’ solution, bringing the unique Ola experience to inter-city travel, with the same level of convenience and reliability. Through Ola Outstation, Ola has been able to structure the fragmented outstation travel segment like never before.
Launched in 2016, Ola Outstation is India’s only smart inter-city mobility solution. Commuters can choose from a wide range of AC cabs across Hatchbacks, Sedans, SUVs and Luxury segment for their intercity trips. Ola Outstation offers multiple features to its customers making inter-city commute seamless, convenient, and affordable.
o Economical One-Way Trips: Customers who need to travel just one way out of town can choose from 600+ one-way routes.
o Flexible round-trip packages: Unlike the local market, on Ola Outstation, you could book round-trips for as low as 6 or 8 hours. If you have a short visit in mind, then Outstation is the most economic way out.
o Advance Booking: With Ola Outstation, a customer gets a ride within 1 hour of booking. Customers can book up to 7 days in advance as well.
o Vehicle Options: Customers get to choose from our range of hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs and even luxury cabs.
o Secure and Safer Rides: In-app safety features such as – SOS emergency button, 24*7 roadside assistance and live ride tracking are also available for our Outstation customers
Why did you a feel the need to partner with Google Maps and has it helped?
Google and Ola have partnered time and again to enhance the customer experience. The integration is enabling access to a reliable and convenient mode of commute for long distance travel.
Covering as many as 500 routes across cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, and several others, the integration makes Ola Outstation category accessible to an even wider customer base and bringing a more fluid and convenient experience for travellers.
How do you look at competition in the Indian market and what are the new services we can expect from Ola in the coming years?
We welcome healthy competition as it essential for a growing industry like ours. We remain focused on providing our customers with a wide range of smart mobility options that are derived from our hyperlocal approach to innovation.
Are there any plans for expanding to overseas markets and give Uber a competition?
Ola has already launched its services in Australia. As regards other international expansion plans, will share the details as that happens.