Ola blocks ride-sharing at night

Ola blocks ride-sharing at night

Ola stopped the facility earlier this week.

Ride-sharing on the Ola platform will not be allowed between 11 pm and 6 am as the cab aggregator has decided to turn off the feature due to concerns over drivers’ earnings as well as the safety of passengers.

Ola first turned off the feature in Chennai two weeks ago and the measure was applied in Bengaluru at the beginning of the week, much to the disappointment of hundreds of commuters who work till late night in the metros. Passengers can pay 30% to 60% less by sharing the cab with another person travelling on the same route.

In its response, Ola said the decision was taken to balance “value for money and viability for customers and (driver) partners” but did not explicitly state that the service has been shut down during the night time.

“Ola Share is a popular choice for commuters during regular hours (from) 6 am to 11 pm. By matching users who are looking to ride on similar routes, Ola Share optimises fares for customers and capacities for driver partners. Customers can continue to choose from a variety of mobility options from 11 pm to 6 an on the Ola platform,” a spokesperson said.

The spokesperson refused to comment on the measure applied in other metropolitan cities like Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata.

However, sources said Ola shut down ride-sharing in Chennai two weeks ago and “it will happen in other cities eventually”.

The ride-sharing feature on Ola and Uber platforms has been hailed for its role in reducing congestion by carrying more people in fewer vehicles. However, the decision was disappointing for Jnanesh Kumar M, who works in a pub near Brigade Road. “I used to buy Share Pass and ride home by saving half of the fare. Many people used to share the ride even at 12.30 am,” he said.

Shekhar, who drives for Ola, termed the step as “another attempt” by the company to save its own money. “It’s a tactic that will ensure drivers do not complete the minimum number of trips for availing the incentive. In the central part of Bengaluru, we used to get three customers on one trip,” he said.

Sources, however, denied the same and said cab drivers were, in fact, earning less. “They were getting half the fare most of the times. A major factor behind the decision was the safety of passengers. There were complaints that drunken passengers created a nuisance for others sharing the cab,” the source added.

The spokesperson, however, denied there were any safety concerns.