Ride-hailing major Ola, which is one of the earliest players to launch bike taxi service, is seeing huge demand in smaller cities and towns across several states. Ola Bike is quietly tapping India’s hinterland where users see bike taxis as the most convenient and cheapest mode of commute in the absence of proper taxi service.
For example, Ola Bike is operating in towns such as Gaya, Bikaner, Mughalsarai, Tirupati, Ambala, Pathankot, Ajmer, etc.
In tier II cities and beyond, bike taxi services are popular because of the lack of public transport infrastructure. Arun Srinivas, chief sales and marketing officer of Ola, says, “Ola Bike has seen large-scale adoption among people living in India’s hinterlands which have not had access to convenient, affordable and reliable on-demand transportation so far, unlike the larger cities.”
Ola Bike, which was first launched in 2016, is now accessed by over 150 million users. The firm now claims Ola Bike has expanded to over 200 cities and towns across the country, with a network of over 300,000 bike-partners.
The company is aiming to grow threefold of its current scale to over one million and grow deeper into India’s hinterland in the next 12 months. Most of this new growth is expected to come from the smallest towns and even villages, where the only mode of transport is state-run buses.
Interestingly, around four out of every 10 Ola Bike trips are taken in small towns. Ola, which competes with US rival Uber, said the growth for its bike category had increased steadily from 20 per cent to 40 per cent in the past six months.
Arun Srinivas said, Ola Bike is creating opportunities like never before for the youth of the nation. Because bike taxis are more affordable than cabs, and can zip through congested roads, they are popular among millennials.
According to the company, Ola Bike on an average, is 30 per cent faster and 50 per cent more cost-effective than four-wheelers for distances between 6 and 8 kilometres.
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