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Uber vs Ola: The Battle for App Cab Supremacy on the Indian Roads

The story of Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton in the HBO hit "Game of Thrones" may have reached a predictably brutal and gruesome ending, but it resembles the ongoing dispute between Flipkart and Amazon in the Indian e-commerce market, the battle between Ola and The overwhelming power of the country's taxi market becomes a long and drawn-out saga, the end of which is obviously not over. However, consumers shouldn't complain. Until recently, the idea of ​​a taxi-on-demand service was almost unknown and one had to rely on the notoriously unreliable auto rickshaws or traditional taxis to get from A to B. With the advent of Ola, Uber and other services like Meru and the now-defunct Taxi For Sure made driving in a relatively clean, air-conditioned vehicle as easy as apple pie. Although prices were a little higher, intense competition has ensured that these services are much cheaper today than they were 4 to 5 years ago.

However, customer safety concerns and complaints about billing, driver behavior, and poor routes have plagued these cabin power units frequently, leaving government agencies in various cities to intervene from time to time to regulate these companies, which for the most part have avoided severe regulatory restrictions until now. While no app-cab operator is perfect, many of us have become so used to these services that it becomes almost impossible for us to imagine chasing regular taxis again or knocking down auto-rickshaws and haggling over the price with them. With app booths like Ola and Uber offering the least resistance path, are there significant benefits to using one over the other? Or are they two sides of the same coin? In order to better understand these services and to find out if we are missing out by preferring one, let's look at some of the Pros and cons of using Ola and Uber in India look more precisely :

User interface and ease of use

Either Ola and Uber are available on multiple platforms. So if you're using an Android device, an iPhone, or even a Windows-based handset, you can download and use both apps on your device. However, if you have it installed on your phone, the first thing you need to do is to turn on "Location Services / GPS" on your device for the Ola app to work. While Uber had to turn on the GPS once too, the big update rolled out to the app last year means you can actually call a cab without revealing your current location, which is certainly a good thing from a privacy standpoint. assuming you're playful enough to manually enter your pick-up address every time.

When you open the Uber app, you'll land on a page that shows your location on your city map (assuming you've turned on GPS). The aforementioned update, rolled out in the US late last year and India earlier this year, made the booking process a lot easier, provided you Not more Your pick-up address need to enter. The GPS device will be your current position and all you have to do is enter your destination in the large white box at the top of the page that simply says “Where to?”. When you start typing, you're there with several options to choose from. Once you find the option you want, just tap on it. After a short calculation, the app shows you the prices for taxis in each category.

At the most affordable end of the spectrum, you have the UberPool Service available that requires you to share your taxi with strangers for a pocket-friendly fare. On the other hand is that UberBlack- Service extremely expensive many of the bells and whistles that you don't need, at least not on a daily basis. To the others in Delhi offered Count categories currently UberGO, UberX, UberXL and UberHire . It's worth noting, however, that the categories vary quite a bit depending on the region and even time of day. Hence, what is offered as an option in one city may not necessarily be available in another. Uber also lets you schedule taxis for later.

As for the UI, in the top left corner of the app's landing page, you get a "hamburger menu" (three little lines) that you can tap to see an overlay showing your rating and you can log on to the Contact support, request refunds, register complaints, and access your account settings. All in all, it's a pretty intuitive user interfacewhich just got better with the last revision. As for the white-on-gray design, it looks classy and sophisticated, if a bit boring. With the above update a few months ago, the company also introduced "location sharing" and some other novel features that we covered last month.

It's pretty much the exact same story when you see that yourself the place on the map literally exactly located. Unlike Uber, however, all of the available cabin categories will be displayed at the bottom of the landing page, so select one to get a quote. Ola offers a variety of options that can obviously get a little confusing if you are a new user. Even experienced users have to move around the app carefully so as not to select wrong options. The available categories include Share, Micro and Mini as well as three different flavors of the most expensive "Prime" level, including Prime Sedan, Prime Play and Prime SUV . The company also offers an exorbitantly award-winning Lux category in Bangalore, but I haven't had the privilege to review as I've only lived in Kolkata and Delhi since the beginning of the app-cab era.

Interestingly, in addition to calling taxis, the Ola app lets you call cars, e-rickshaws and, until recently, even traditional taxis! Ola also offers an "outstation" service, a "shuttle service" (in Delhi) and a "rental service". With so many options waiting for your attention, you have to set the category manually each time, because "Ola Prime", one of the more expensive offers, is selected by default. So if you only want to book Micro, Mini or Share, you'll pay a whole lot more if you forget to choose your preferred option right at the start. As with Uber, you can use Ola also got a taxi for later Use with the "Drive later" option pre-order or plan .

In terms of user interface, Ola also has a “hamburger menu” in the top left corner of the app's home screen, just like its San Francisco rival. You can tap this button to view your journey history and other information like promotions, notifications and payments, etc. Overall, it's a well-designed app that is lightweight and definitely uses fewer resources than Uber . As for the design, I find the white and yellow design sunny and cheerful without being garish or loud. There's really no choice between the two apps per se, but I hope Ola cleans up the mess a bit and makes the UI less confusing for seniors and people new to smartphones.

Note: You can Book Uber directly from your computer .To do this, you'll need to switch to a dedicated subdomain that Uber has set up for this purpose.All you need to do is provide your cell phone number and password for this method to work.While we did manage to book an Uber this way, it just didn't seem as intuitive as the standard method.

Ola also offers an offline booking mode that allows people without internet access book a taxi can. However, you need to use the smartphone app for this method to work.You will get this option automatically if you open the Ola app on your phone without mobile data or WiFi turned on.Unfortunately, in our case, repeated attempts to book an Ola using this method failed miserably.

Availability and collection

From personal experience Uber almost never refuses a ride to a customer because no vehicles are available, especially if you want to book one of their cheaper services like Pool or Go. In several years of using the service in Kolkata and in a few months in Delhi, I have found a taxi very rarely, although the prices quoted at peak times are often not for the faint of heart. Another problem with trying to accommodate everyone is apparently unique to UberPool. The company offers You often To drivers traveling in a completely different direction, which means that UberPool trips are often very long and complicated Routes requirewhich usually lead to longer travel times

Unlike UberPool, Ola Share's passengers are usually driven in the same direction with drivers, so nobody has to make a long detour. Trying to book Share rides during rush hour can be a little painful for the company often rejects driving requests (at least in Kolkata and Delhi) as other taxis operating in the region do not ride in the same direction while this distinction is not applicable if you want to book UberGO or Ola Micro (or higher). Still you get more of a "taxi not available" message from Ola than Uberregardless of the category you're looking at.

There are still a few key differences between Ola and Uber when it comes to pickup. First there is the ETA that you will receive at the time of booking. While Ola almost always underestimates the time it takes to overcome congested city traffic, Uber is generally a little more realistic with its ETAs, although anyone who has used the services extensively them will say that You are lucky if your taxi actually manages to arrive on time, regardless of which one you booked.

Second there Ola at everyone booking a taxi an OTP to the driver, regardless of the category. As a driver, you have to inform the driver of this, who will insert it into their app and be checked by the Ola servers. While it's an extra step that can be a bit painful at times, it's actually a great innovation as it greatly reduces the likelihood of confusion, and Uber would do well to introduce something similar, at least in countries with chaotic traffic. like India.

Professionalism of the drivers and cleanliness of the cars

What's even more unsettling than waiting longer than expected for your taxi to arrive is the fact that the drivers who accepted the travel request will call you frequently to find out your destination and will cancel them immediately if they are Opinion is not profitable enough for them. Actually be You often asked to cancelto avoid the penalties for canceling trips. While Ola and Uber charge drivers a nominal "cancellation fee" in these cases, you can get it back in most cases, but more on that later. While this issue affects both Ola and Uber, I've personally found that Ola drivers you needlessly more often as an Uber driver callto either guide them with the navigation or to know your destination.

Apart from professional ethics missing the Drivers on both platforms also have one adequate training in navigationalthough those who have been on the platform for a long time generally do better than the newbies. If you really want to cut hair I would say that Uber drivers just a little better are trained for GPS navigation than their colleagues from Ola, who draw on my personal experiences and those of my friends, relatives and colleagues.

While most drivers on Ola and Uber are relatively polite than traditional taxi and car drivers, the two companies still do a good job of educating them on how to converse in polite society. Uber seems, however based on personal experiences and anecdotes gathered in various online forums, message boards and social media were to have a slightly higher standard than Ola when it comes to hiring drivers, although your mileage may vary.

While I most Ola and Uber cabins as relatively clean felt, Ola vehicles, whether in Kolkata or Delhi, look consistently worse compared to their Uber counterparts. While you expect the vehicles to have a few scratches and dents on our troubled roads, see Uber vehicles generally look better than the Ola- vehicles . As for the vehicles themselves, I'm personally afraid I'll have to climb the Indicas and Indigos as they are the worst in terms of their NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) levels, but the Dzires, Xcents, and Wagon Rs hold up for longer Make time periods much better.

Tariffs and payment options

Let's be honest. While all of these are important, the most important factor for many of us is the fare. Personally, I open both apps on my mobile phone and compare the tariffs on the two platforms before actually booking. For penny pinchers like me, it is almost always the service that calls for the lower price that is convincing in the end. While Ola Share generally over shorter distances (at least in Delhi) is cheaper, the picture changes completely with distance. Typically, UberPool and UberGO are over a distance of more than 6 km significantly cheaper as Ola Share and Ola Micro. However, this only applies in the event that you do not receive the dreaded message "The prices are higher due to the increased demand".


As mentioned earlier, Ola offers besides Ola Share the too Classes Micro, Mini, Prime Sedan, Prime Play and Prime SUV. For micro, the company charges Rs. 6 per km up to 15 km, after which the fare increases to 12 per km. In addition, you also pay Rs. 1.5 per minute as the journey time. At Mini, the charges rise to Rs. 8 per km and Rs. 16 per km, while the journey time increases to Rs. 3 per minute. Prime Sedan and Prime Play both cost Rs. 10 per km for the first 15 km and go up to Rs. 16 per km after that. Prime SUVs start at Rs. 15 per km. While Ola Share tariffs are typically lower than UberPool over shorter distances, they tend to be significantly higher over longer distances.

Uber is no longer officially announcing its tariffs, likely due to the controversial "surging pricing" method where people often scrape over the exorbitant prices the company brings to market during times of high demand. However, following the recent rate hike, which was introduced earlier this year, the company's tariffs have risen sharply. In general, the tariffs are largely comparable to Ola, although, as mentioned earlier, UberPool and UberGO are consistently cheaper than Ola Share and Ola Micro (at least over longer distances). However, by the end of last year, the company publicly announced tariffs per km, charging Rs. 7 per km for UberGO, Rs. 9 per km for UberX, and Rs. 14 per km for Uber Black and Uber SUVs. As in UberPool costs it as well as Ola Share a flat rate .

Note: If you're an Uber user, you've found that the company has many Promos and Coupons that offers your tariff considerable to reduce.Often times, you will get coupons that will reduce your fare by as much as 50-75%, although the upside is limited at Rs.50-75.As I speak, I am currently using a coupon code that will cut my travel expenses by "50% up to 100 rupees".50 ”so I'm only paying roughly Rs.35-40 instead of the Rs.70-80, which usually costs.On the other hand, Ola doesn't offer that many coupons, but regular users can get one SharePass buy that significantly reduces costs.Uber coupons are often valid for all of their services, SharePasses are only valid for trips with Ola Share. So if you need the whole taxi you always have to pay full price.

Payment options

Ola has three payment modes: Ola Money, credit or debit cards and of course cash. Unfortunately accepted the company for many ordinary users no payments via e-wallets from Third party providers such as PayTM or Mobikwik, although individual drivers with PayTM accounts sometimes accept PayTM payments. Therefore you have to check this driver individually about it. Personally, I still consider myself good money, but I can see the appeal of digital wallets as it is a real pain to play with cash day and night.

Unlike many western markets, Uber accepts cash as one of the three forms of payment in India. The company also accepts Credit and debit cards as well as PayTM, which is more versatile and is accepted as Ola Money at many other merchant locations in the country. It's also more user-friendly and allows you to top up at much lower denominations than Ola's own e-wallet. This is another important benefit for infrequent users. Uber has also recently started accepting UPI Payments, so you can read our comprehensive guide on how to activate it.

Cancellation Fees and Refunds

As mentioned earlier, drivers on both platforms have a tendency to cancel after being called and asked for your destination, although this seems to be a bigger problem with Ola than it is with Uber. As a customer, you will often a cancellation fee will be chargedthat ranges from Rs. 25 on Ola Share to Rs. 100 (plus service tax) on UberXL and UberHire. I was unfortunate enough to be on the wrong end of the stick with both Ola Share and UberGO. The charges, however, were made for both platforms canceledbecause I was either asked by the driver, or canceled by the driver without my input.

Recently, however, Uber came up with a strange way of refunding your cash user cancellation fee. The company will return the money as Uber Credit, but will charge the additional amount for your next trip before it is deducted from the next trip. Yes, it's as confusing as it sounds and isn't half as intuitive as Ola's straightforward waiver, but it works. Kind of.

Customer service

Ola and Uber have made extensive use of both services in Kolkata and Delhi, speaking to many who have used both services frequently. It seems like they have both companies have plenty of room for improvement in terms of customer satisfaction, although strictly on individual results, Uber seems to be a bit ahead of Ola in this department. While I haven't had to deal with the Ola customer service reps personally yet, I had to contact Uber last year because a promo code they kept sending me wasn't accepted by the app. After a couple of emails I received an apology for my problems and the correct code was sent to me via SMS which worked exactly as advertised.

Uber vs Ola: Do We Have a Winner Here?

It depends who you ask. There are many who have had a terrible experience with one platform or the other, while others have sworn off all app booths after having bad experiences with both. Still others vouch for service for reasons best known to them. Sure, common stories that motorists misbehave with female passengers don't matter, but the fact still remains that despite the minimal background checks these guys go through, you're still safer in an app-cab in the middle from the night as if you were in a car or a traditional taxi with the driver rarely going through any background checks, whatever.

In a market that has become a duopoly for Ola and Uber, I personally don't have much preference over another, although I preferred Uber in Kolkata because the cars were more pointed and the drivers were more polite. and tariffs almost always lower. However, in Delhi, my experience with Uber was affected by a couple of incidents while Ola was steady and solid. Sure, there were these ubiquitous cancellations and terrible navigation, but generally good-natured drivers, decent cars, and lower fares mean Ola was my preferred mode of transport here, but a couple of trips here and there with Uber because of the cheaper special rates.

Do you prefer Uber over Ola? Or is it the other way around? Or do you, like me, have different experiences with the two platforms in two different cities? What do you think needs to be done to make these services safer, more reliable and more affordable? Let us know about your experience with Ola and Uber in the comments section.