India’s Ola Is Piloting Combined Ridesharing/Bikesharing Program

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Ola, the India-based on-demand taxi service (“ridesharing” service) commonly referred to as India’s Uber, has begun trialing a new system/app that combines its taxi service with a dockless bikesharing service (as well as with an on-demand auto-rickshaw service) in some parts of the country.

In other words, Ola users can use the company’s app to call a taxi, then arrive at the destination in question, and then use the same app as before to locate one of the company’s dockless “Pedal” bikes (Pedal is the name of the service).

It’s worth noting here that Ola finished raising a further $1.1 billion or so in funding in October. Presumably, some of that funding is supporting the trial and rollout of Ola Pedal.

With regard to the value of the new service, a spokesperson for the company stated: “Bicycles are a sustainable and efficient alternative for covering first- and last-mile mobility needs in our cities. … Ola Pedal will go a long way in solving larger issues like pollution and congestion in cities, especially for short-distance trips.”

Recode provides more: “While it’s just a pilot and is only available on a number of campuses at first, Pedal opens up a world of opportunity around multi-modal transportation for the company. The integration of a bike-sharing app allows Ola users to bike to a place where it’s more convenient or cheaper for an Ola driver to pick them up. That’s also true for getting to a destination a car can neither take you to easily — because of congestion or other impediments — nor take you there affordably.

“Given that the bikes are GPS-enabled and the service is integrated within the Ola app, customers will be able to plan their route better by targeting pick up or drop-off locations where there are bikes available.”

Such systems may be new to India, but they have been on offer in China for a while now. In fact, the dockless bikesharing services have come under attack there in recent times due to the way that some users park the bikes in locations that are ill-suited to the purpose. Another issue is the mass-quantity buildup of units in popular destinations in some regions.

All images via Ola

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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