Uber vs Ola: Battle For App-Cab Supremacy on Indian Roads

The Jon Snow versus Ramsay Bolton saga within the HBO smash hit ‘Sport of Thrones’ may need reached a predictably brutal and ugly finish, however very similar to the continuing tussle between Flipkart and Amazon within the Indian e-commerce market, the battle between Ola and Uber for supremacy within the nation’s taxi market is turning into a protracted and stretched-out saga with no obvious finish in sight. Not that buyers ought to complain, although. Till not so way back, the concept of an on-demand cab service was virtually unparalleled, and one needed to depend on the notoriously unreliable auto-rickshaws or conventional cabs to get from level A to level B. With the arrival of Ola, Uber and different companies like Meru and the now-defunct Taxi For Positive, hailing a trip in a comparatively clear, air-conditioned car turned as straightforward as apple pie. Though pricing began off a bit on the upper facet, fierce competitors has ensured that these companies right now are much more reasonably priced than they had been 4 to five years in the past.

Nevertheless, considerations about buyer security and complaints about billing, driver habits and poor routes have usually plagued these cab aggregators, forcing authorities companies in numerous cities to step in sometimes to control these firms which have, for essentially the most half, averted any critical regulatory restrictions up till now. Whereas no app-cab operator is ideal, many people have gotten so used to those companies that it might turn out to be well-nigh unimaginable for us to think about going again to chasing common cabs or flagging down auto-rickshaws and haggling with them over fare. So, with app-cabs like Ola and Uber offering the trail of least resistance, are there any important benefits of utilizing one over the opposite? Or are they two sides of the identical coin? In an effort to higher perceive these companies and see if we’re lacking out on one thing by preferring one over the opposite, let’s take an in depth have a look at a number of the benefits and downsides of utilizing Ola and Uber in India:

Consumer interface and Ease of Use

Each Ola and Uber can be found on a number of platforms, so whether or not you employ an Android gadget, an iPhone or perhaps a Home windows-based handset, it is possible for you to to obtain and use each apps in your gadget. As soon as you put in them in your telephone, although, the very first thing you’ll want to recollect is that you just’ll completely want to modify on ‘Location Companies / GPS’ in your gadget for the Ola app to work. Whereas Uber additionally as soon as wanted the GPS to be turned on, the large replace rolled out to the app final 12 months now means you’ll be able to really hail a cab with out freely giving your present location, which is actually a superb factor from the privateness standpoint, supplied, you’re recreation sufficient to manually kind in your pick-up deal with each time.

On opening up the Uber app, you’ll land on a web page denoting your location on the map of your metropolis (supplied you’ve the GPS turned on). The aforementioned replace, which was rolled out within the U.S. late final 12 months and in India earlier this 12 months, has made the reserving course of very easy, insofar as you don’t even must type-in your pick-up deal with anymore. The GPS will pin-point your present location, and also you’ll simply have to fill in your vacation spot within the huge white field on the prime of the web page that merely says “The place to?” As you begin typing in, you’ll be offered with numerous choices to select from, and when you see the choice you’re really in search of, simply faucet on that, and the app will present you the fares for cabs in every class after a fast calculation.

Uber vs Ola: The Battle for App-Cab Supremacy on Indian RoadsOn the most reasonably priced finish of the spectrum, you’ve acquired the UberPool service that wants you to share your cab with strangers in change for a pocket-friendly fare, whereas on the opposite, there’s essentially the most exorbitantly-priced UberBlack service that comes with most of the bells and whistles that you could be not essentially want, a minimum of not every day. At present, the opposite classes on provide in Delhi embody UberGO, UberX, UberXL and UberHire. It’s value remembering, although, that the classes differ fairly a bit relying on area and even the time of day, so what’s supplied as an possibility in a single metropolis might not essentially be out there in one other. Additionally, Uber allows you to schedule cabs for later.

So far as the UI is worried, you get a ‘hamburger menu’ (three little traces) on the top-left nook of the app’s touchdown web page, tapping on which brings out an overlay that reveals you your score and, allows you to contact assist, declare refunds, register criticism and, entry your account settings. Total, it’s a reasonably intuitive person interface that has solely gotten higher with the latest revamp. As for the white-on-grey design, it appears to be like stylish and complicated, if a tad boring. The corporate additionally rolled out “location-sharing” and some different novel options with the aforementioned replace a number of months again, all of which we lined simply final month.

It’s just about the identical story right here as nicely by way of seeing your personal location actually pinpointed on the map, however not like Uber, you’ll have all of the out there cab classes displayed on the backside of the touchdown web page itself, and also you’ll want to select one to get your estimate. Ola affords a mind-boggling array of choices, which might, frankly, get a bit complicated in the event you’re a brand new person. Even skilled customers have to navigate the app fastidiously in order to not decide unsuitable choices. Accessible classes embody Share, Micro and Mini, in addition to three totally different flavors of its most costly ‘Prime’ tier, together with Prime Sedan, Prime Play and Prime SUV. The corporate additionally affords an exorbitantly-priced ‘Lux’ class in Bangalore, however I haven’t had the privilege of checking that out having solely lived in Kolkata and Delhi because the onset of the app-cab period.Uber vs Ola: The Battle for App-Cab Supremacy on Indian RoadsApparently, with the Ola app, you’ll be able to hail not simply cabs, but in addition autos, e-rickshaws and till not too long ago, even conventional taxis! Ola additionally affords an ‘outstation’ service, a ‘shuttle’ service (in Delhi) and a ‘rental’ service. With so many choices jostling to your consideration, you’ll have to recollect to set the class manually each time as a result of, ‘Ola Prime’, one of many dearer choices, is chosen by default. So in case you’re solely seeking to guide Micro, Mini or Share, you’ll find yourself paying a complete lot extra in the event you overlook to decide on your most well-liked possibility proper on the get-go. Like Uber, Ola additionally allows you to pre-book or schedule a cab for later utilizing the “Trip Later” possibility.

By way of the person interface, Ola additionally has a ‘hamburger menu’ on the top-left nook of the app’s residence display screen, similar to its San Francisco-based rival. You may faucet on that button to see your trip historical past and different info like promotions, notifications and funds and so forth. Total, its a well-designed app that’s light-weight and positively much less of a resource-hog than Uber. As for the design, to every their very own, however personally, I discover the white-on-yellow design sunny and cheerful with out being garish or loud. There’s nothing actually to select from between the 2 apps per se, however I do hope that Ola will clear up the litter just a little and make its interface rather less complicated for seniors and people who find themselves new to smartphones.

Be aware: You may as well guide an Uber proper out of your laptop. To do this, you want to go over to a devoted sub-domain that Uber arrange for the aim. You’ll solely want to supply your cellular quantity and password for this methodology to work. Whereas we did handle to guide an Uber this fashion, it simply didn’t appear as intuitive as the usual methodology.

Book Uber WebUber vs Ola: The Battle for App-Cab Supremacy on Indian Roads

Ola additionally has an ‘offline’ reserving mode that enables individuals with out web entry to guide a cab, though, you’ll nonetheless want to make use of the smartphone app for this methodology to work. You’ll get that possibility routinely in the event you open the Ola app in your telephone with out both cellular knowledge or Wi-Fi turned on. Sadly although, in our case, repeated makes an attempt at reserving an Ola utilizing this methodology failed miserably.

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

Availability and Pickup

From private expertise, Uber virtually by no means refuses a trip to a buyer due to unavailability of automobiles, particularly, in the event you’re seeking to guide one among their cheaper companies like Pool or Go. In a number of years of utilizing the service in Kolkata and some months in Delhi, I’ve very not often didn’t discover a cab, though, the costs quoted at rush hour are sometimes not for the faint-hearted. One other drawback with attempting to accommodate everyone is seemingly distinctive to UberPool. The corporate usually matches you with riders who’re touring in a very totally different path, which suggests UberPool rides usually take extraordinarily lengthy and convoluted routes, sometimes resulting in longer ride-timesUber vs Ola: The Battle for App-Cab Supremacy on Indian Roads

Not like UberPool, Ola Share passengers are usually matched with fellow riders moving into the identical common path, so no one has to take a protracted detour. That being the case, attempting to guide Share rides throughout rush hour generally is a little bit of a ache, as the corporate usually rejects trip requests (a minimum of in Kolkata and Delhi) as a result of different cabs on share obligation within the area aren’t touring in the identical path. Whereas this differentiation isn’t relevant in the event you’re seeking to guide UberGO or Ola Micro (or increased), you’re nonetheless extra prone to get a ‘cab unavailable’ message from Ola than Uber, no matter the class you’re .
Uber vs Ola: The Battle for App-Cab Supremacy on Indian Roads

There are one other couple of essential variations between Ola and Uber in the case of the pickup expertise. Firstly, there’s the ETA that’s given to you on the time of reserving. Whereas Ola virtually all the time understates the time wanted to wade via congested metropolis visitors, Uber is a usually bit extra life like with its ETAs, though, as anybody who’s used the companies extensively will inform you, you’ll be fortunate in case your cab really manages to reach on time no matter which one you’ve booked.

Secondly, Ola points an OTP to the rider each time a cab is booked, no matter the class. As a rider, you want to point out this to the motive force, who enters it of their app to be verified by the Ola servers. Whereas it’s an additional step that could possibly be a little bit of ache generally, it’s is definitely an amazing innovation because it considerably reduces probabilities of a mix-up and Uber would do nicely to introduce one thing comparable, a minimum of, in international locations with chaotic visitors, like India.

Professionalism of Drivers & Cleanliness of Vehicles

What’s much more disconcerting than having to attend longer-than-expected to your cab to reach, is the truth that drivers, having accepted the journey request, will usually name you as much as know your vacation spot, and promptly cancel in the event that they assume that the journey gained’t be worthwhile sufficient for them. Really, they’d fairly often ask you to cancel in order to keep away from the penalties for cancelling rides. Whereas Ola and Uber each cost riders a nominal ‘cancellation price’ in these instances, you will get them again most of the time, however extra on that later. Whereas this drawback impacts each Ola and Uber, I’ve personally discovered that Ola drivers usually tend to name you up unnecessarily than Uber drivers, both to information them with navigation or to know your vacation spot.

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

Skilled ethics apart, drivers on each platforms additionally lack correct coaching to navigate, though, those which were on the platform for lengthy usually do a greater job of it than the newbies. In case you actually need to break up hair, I’d say Uber drivers are solely barely higher skilled to make use of GPS navigation than their Ola counterparts going by my very own private experiences and people of my pals, kin and colleagues.

Whereas most drivers on Ola and Uber are comparatively extra courteous than conventional taxi and auto drivers, the 2 firms would nonetheless do nicely to coach them on how one can converse in well mannered society. Having mentioned that, going by private expertise and anecdotal proof collected from numerous on-line boards, message boards and social media, Uber appears to have a barely increased normal than Ola in the case of hiring drivers, though, your mileage might differ.

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

Whereas I’ve discovered most Ola and Uber cabs to be comparatively clear, Ola automobiles, whether or not in Kolkata or Delhi, constantly look worse for the wear and tear in comparison with their Uber counterparts. Whilst you do anticipate the automobiles to endure a number of scratches and dings on our unruly roads, Uber automobiles usually look better-maintained than the Ola ones. As for the automobiles themselves, I personally dread having to board the Indicas and the Indigos, as they’re the worst of the lot by way of their NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) ranges, however the Dzires, Xcents and Wagon Rs maintain their form significantly better over longer intervals of time.

Fares and Cost Choices

Let’s face it. Whereas all the above are essential, the important issue for many people is the fare. Personally, I open each apps on my telephone and examine the fares on the 2 platforms earlier than really going forward with the reserving. For penny-pinchers like myself, it’s virtually all the time the service that’s asking for the decrease fare that wins out in the long run. Whereas Ola Share is usually cheaper over shorter distances (a minimum of in Delhi), the image adjustments utterly with the rise in distance. Sometimes, UberPool and UberGO are considerably cheaper than Ola Share and Ola Micro respectively over distances longer than 6kms, however solely so long as you don’t get the dreaded “Fares are increased resulting from elevated demand” message.


As talked about earlier, Ola affords Micro, Mini, Prime Sedan, Prime Play and Prime SUV classes alongside Ola Share, which comes with flat, upfront fares based mostly on the gap. For micro, the corporate prices Rs. 6 per Km until 15 Kms, after which, the fare will increase to 12 per Km. Moreover, you additionally pay Rs. 1.5 per minute as ‘Trip Time Fare’. For Mini, the fees improve to Rs. 8 per Km and Rs. 16 Per Km respectively, whereas trip time prices improve to Rs. 3 per minute. Prime Sedan and Prime Play each price Rs. 10 per Km for the primary 15 Kms, and will increase to Rs. 16 per Km after that. Prime SUVs begin at Rs. 15 per Km. Whereas Ola Share fares are sometimes decrease than UberPool over shorter distances, they are usually considerably increased over longer distances.

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

Uber doesn’t promote its fares formally anymore, very possible due to the controversial ‘surge pricing’ methodology that usually leaves individuals scratching their heads concerning the exorbitant charges the corporate comes up with in instances of excessive demand. Nevertheless, after the latest rate-hike carried out earlier this 12 months, the corporate’s fares have seen a steep improve. Usually, fares are comparable with Ola for essentially the most half, though, as talked about already, I’ve discovered UberPool and UberGO to be constantly cheaper than Ola Share and Ola Micro respectively (a minimum of, over longer distances). Till late final 12 months, although, the corporate did announce its per Km charges publicly, and charged Rs. 7 per Km for UberGO, Rs. 9 per km for UberX, and Rs. 14 per Km for Uber Black and Uber SUV. As for UberPool, it additionally prices a flat fare similar to Ola Share.

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

Be aware: In case you’re an Uber person, you’ll have observed that the corporate affords loads of promos and coupons that scale back your fare by fairly a bit. Usually, you’ll get coupons that scale back your fare by as a lot as 50-75%, though, the upside is capped at Rs. 50-75. As I converse, I’m at the moment utilizing a coupon code that’s reducing my commute prices by “50% as much as Rs. 50”, so I’m solely paying about Rs. 35-40 as an alternative of the Rs. 70-80 that it usually prices. Ola, then again, doesn’t provide as many coupons, however common customers can purchase a ‘SharePass’ that reduces prices considerably. Whereas Uber coupons are sometimes relevant to all its companies, SharePasses are solely relevant to Ola Share rides, so that you’ll nonetheless must pay full fare in the event you want the entire cab.

Cost Choices

Ola has three modes of fee: Ola Cash, credit score or debit playing cards and naturally, money. Sadly for a lot of common customers, although, the corporate doesn’t settle for fee through any third-party e-wallets, like PayTM or Mobikwik, though, particular person drivers with PayTM accounts do generally settle for PayTM funds, so that you’ll have to examine with drivers individually about that. Personally, I’m nonetheless sticking to good ‘ol money, however I can see the enchantment of digital wallets, because it’s an actual ache having to fiddle with money day and evening.

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

Uber accepts money as one of many three modes of fee in India not like in lots of Western markets. The corporate additionally accepts credit score and debit playing cards, in addition to PayTM, which is extra versatile and accepted at many extra service provider areas within the nation than Ola Cash. It’s additionally extra user-friendly, and allows you to do recharges in a lot decrease denominations than Ola’s personal e-wallet, which is one other main optimistic for rare customers. Uber has additionally not too long ago began accepting UPI Funds, so you’ll be able to try our complete information on how one can allow it.

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

Cancellation Charges and Refunds

As talked about already, drivers on each platforms have the propensity to cancel after calling you up and asking you about your vacation spot, though, it appears to be an even bigger problem with Ola than with Uber. As a buyer, you’re usually saddled with a cancellation price that ranges from Rs. 25 on Ola Share to Rs. 100 (plus service tax) on UberXL and UberHire. I’ve had the misfortune of being on the wrong-end of the stick on each Ola Share and UberGO, however acquired the fees waived on each platforms as a result of, on every event, I used to be both requested by the motive force to cancel, or, was cancelled on by the motive force with none enter on my half.

Just lately, although, Uber has developed a bizarre means returning your cancellation price for cash-only customers. The corporate returns the cash as Uber Credit score, however prices the additional quantity in your subsequent journey nonetheless, earlier than deducting it from the next journey. Sure, it’s as complicated because it sounds, and never half as intuitive as Ola’s simple waiver, however works. Form of.

Buyer Service

Having used each Ola and Uber extensively in Kolkata and Delhi and, having spoken to many who’ve used each companies often, it appears that evidently each firms have loads of room for enchancment by way of buyer satisfaction, though, going strictly by anecdotal proof, Uber appears to be barely forward of Ola on this division. Whereas I haven’t personally needed to cope with the Ola customer-care reps up till now, I did have to contact Uber final 12 months as a result of a promo code they saved texting me simply wasn’t being accepted by the app. After a few mails both means, I acquired an apology for my troubles, and the right code was texted to me, which labored simply as marketed.

SEE ALSO: 12 Cool Uber Methods You Ought to Strive

Uber vs Ola: Do We Have a Winner Right here?

Depends upon who you ask. There are various who’ve had a horrible expertise with one platform or one other, whereas others have sworn off all app-cabs after having dangerous experiences with each. But others vouch for one service over one other for causes greatest identified to them. Positive, frequent tales about drivers misbehaving with girls passengers don’t assist issues, however the truth nonetheless stays that even with the naked minimal background checks that these guys must endure, you’re nonetheless most likely safer in an app-cab in the midst of the evening than you’ll be in an auto or a standard taxi, whose drivers not often undergo any background checks in any respect.

In a market that has successfully turn out to be a duopoly for Ola and Uber, I personally don’t actually have any nice choice for one service over one other, though, I did desire Uber in Kolkata, because the automobiles had been spiffier, the drivers extra courteous, and fares, virtually all the time decrease. In Delhi, nonetheless, my expertise with Uber has been soured by a pair incidents, whereas Ola has been regular and strong. Positive, there have been these ubiquitous cancellations and horrible navigation, however usually well-behaved drivers, respectable automobiles and decrease fares imply Ola has been my most well-liked mode of transport right here however for a number of stints right here and there with Uber due to cheaper promotional fares.

So do you like Uber over Ola? Or is it the opposite means round? Or like me, do you’ve totally different experiences with the 2 platforms in two totally different cities? What do you assume must be executed to make these companies safer, extra dependable and extra reasonably priced? Do tell us about your experiences with Ola and Uber within the remark part under.