Ola, the other major cab aggregator in India apart from Uber, is looking to re-focus on its ride-hailing business, which has remained a laggard for some time now. The company has launched a new premium service, christened ‘Prime Plus’, a derivative of it’s pre-existing and not-so-premium, Prime service. It seems that the new service is currently being tested with select customers in Bengaluru, and promises a ride experience devoid of cancellations or operational issues.
Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, announced in a tweet that the new Prime Plus service will go live for select customers in Bengaluru, starting Sunday, May 28. He went on to attach a screenshot that shows the Prime Plus option for selection on the Ola app, so that customers can “ride in comfort.”
Testing out a new premium service by @Olacabs!
Prime Plus: Best drivers, top cars, no cancellations or operational hassles. Will go live for select customers in Bangalore today. Do try it out 🙂👍🏼
I’ll be using it frequently and will share my experiences here on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/c8YDDgnbPU
— Bhavish Aggarwal (@bhash) May 28, 2023
Ola, which started its journey as a ride hailing company, standing as the only potential rival to Uber’s global ambitions, has started to lag down in its core business for some time now. While the company focuses heavily on its electric ambitions, its ride hailing business has suffered from lesser availability of cabs, local union resistance to the company, poor quality of cars on offer, among several others. With the introduction of Prime Plus, Ola seems to be hinting towards a renewed focus on its core, ride hailing business. It remains to be seen how effective Prime Plus will be against the premium services offered by other players in the rise-hailing industry in India, such as Uber’s Uber Black.
Aggarwal’s tweet regarding Prime Plus seems to make the new service worth every penny that’ll be spent, assuming it lives up to the expectations. Aggarwal says that Prime Plus comes up “top cars,” and promises no cancellations or operations issues. This, in turn, is likely to provide a reliable, comfortable, and convenient service that exceeds customer expectations.
Aggarwal added that he will be a frequent user of the service and will share his experiences with the masses on Twitter. According to the screenshot, the Prime Plus offering is also more pocket-friendly than the other modes of transportation offered by Ola Cabs – such as the Mini Cab – although Aggarwal did not delve into any details about the features of the Prime Plus Service, or how much it will cost when it rolls out to the wider masses.
While currently limited to select customers, the limited availability of the Prime Plus service in Bengaluru serves as a testing ground for further refinement and optimization. By closely analyzing user feedback and preferences, Ola can fine-tune the service and expand its availability to a wider audience, enhancing the premium travel experience for more users across the city.
This development comes soon after US-based investment management company Vanguard reduced the valuation of ANI technologies, the parent firm of Ola to $4.8 billion (a reduction of 35% and a drop from the $7.3 billion it was valued at at the close of 2021), according to regulatory filings. It also closely follows the plans of Ola Electric – Ola’s EV arm – for an initial public offering (IPO). It has already started discussions with investment bankers – including Kotak and Goldman Sachs – and is likely to raise $1 billion in the IPO.