Flipkart’s PhonePe ties up with Ola, bets on micro-apps for growth

Through the AutoPay feature, users can link their credit or debit card for an Ola ride in the PhonePe app once, and the ride-fare would automatically be paid at the end of every ride

Flipkart-owned digital payments firm PhonePe has tied up with homegrown cab aggregator Ola, where users can book a cab or an auto using a micro-app built on its payments platform.

The company has gone live with three such micro-apps, including that of redBus and Metro services, and plans to go live with 5 to 10 more in the ongoing quarter.

“Ola’s scale and reach, topped with our AutoPay feature will enable greater convenience and control to our users while making payments seamless,” said Rahul Chari, co-founder and chief technology officer, PhonePe.

The company, which has built its payments platform primarily on top of the National Payments Corp of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), crossed the 100-million user milestone last month.

Through the AutoPay feature, users can link their credit or debit card for an Ola ride in the PhonePe app once, and the ride-fare would automatically be paid at the end of every ride.

The company has already integrated mobile wallets such as FreeCharge and Jio Money on its platform to give more options to users.

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Man refuses to take Muslim driver’s cab ride, Ola says it is secular

Ola issued a strong-worded statement saying that the company is a secular platform

Inciting communal sentiments to unfathomable levels, a man cancelled his Ola cab ride after he realised that the driver was a Muslim. As an act of casteist attitude, a verified Twitter user Abhishek Mishra, who apparently belongs to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal, tweeted saying that he does not give to his money to “jihadi people”. He had attached a screenshot of his Ola cab booking which named the Ola Muslim driver.

His tweet sparked a communal conversation on the micro-blogging site and was condemned by a host of Twitter users including the likes of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Delhi Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee.

Many said it was an act of encouraging religious discrimination in the country, asking Ola to block such hate-mongering users.

In response to Abhishek Mishra’s anti-Muslim tweet, ride-hailing company Ola issued a strong-worded statement saying that “the company is a secular platform and it does not discriminate its driver partners or customers based on their caste, religion, gender or creed. We urge all our customers and driver partners to treat each other with respect at all times”.

As the criticism he was receiving on the social media and the reactions started to pour in, he again took to Twitter and tweeted the second message and defended his decision on the premise that he has the “right to choose”. He tweeted again asking people to endorse his views by retweeting.

“People starts an attack on me. Can I have no right to choose? If they can run a campaign against Hanuman ji poster on a cab, defamed Hindus and Hindus god in Kathua incident then they must be prepared for a reply,” his Twitter post read. With this tweet, he justified his act by saying that Hindus and Hindu Gods were too defamed in the Kathua incident.

Many, who criticised Mishra, also advised him to stop buying fuel as it is imported from the Middle East and urged Ola to ban him from its platform.

Mishra, who claims to be a “Hindutva Thinker” on his Twitter handle, is followed by a score of Union ministers, including Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma. He has over 14,000 followers on Twitter.

Uber, Ola drivers hit by losses; on indefinite strike: Top 10 developments

Ola and Uber drivers allege their earnings are not enough for them to make ends meet

Do you use Ola and Uber for your daily commute? If yes, you may want to find other modes of transport as Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has called for an indefinite strike of drivers of cab aggregators Uber and Ola starting Monday midnight.

The strike, which will be observed in key cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, aims to voice the drivers’ woes of not being able to cover rising costs due to falling business. They are currently being paid Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per month, according to media reports.

“Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 500,000 to Rs 700,000 and were expecting to make Rs 150,000 a month. But drivers are unable to make even half of this because of the mismanagement by these companies,” said Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena, reported news agency PTI.

Naik accused Ola and Uber of giving priority to company-owned cars rather than driver-owned ones, thereby, hitting their http://business.In Mumbai alone, there are over 45,000 Ola and Uber cabs but a slump in business has seen a drop of about 20 per cent in their numbers.

Meanwhile, the police has issued notices to leaders of the union under section 149 of CrPC relating to unlawful assembly.

Here are the top 10 developments of the Ola and Uber strike:

1. Ola, Uber drivers’ strike starts at midnight: The transport wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has organised the indefinite strike of drivers of cab aggregators Uber and Ola starting midnight.

While taxi-hailing companies offered loan-guarantee letters to drivers through the Mudra scheme and that too without any verification, they are defaulting on repayment now as their costs are not covered, Naik claimed.

Other taxi unions, including the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, have extended support.

2. Drivers claim Ola, Uber cheated them: Ola and Uber drivers said that while both the firms promised them an average monthly income between Rs 100,000 to Rs 150,000, the same was not the case. However, they initially believed them, and ended up buying cars on loans. Now that they are being underpaid, they have decided to go on a strike, said Swaraj Vahan Chalak Malak Sanghatna President Guru Katti, reported Times of India.

An average cost of a car varies between Rs 500,000 to 700,000.

3. Fuel hike adds to Ola, Uber drivers’ woes: Katti said a hike in the fuel prices have left drivers in distress with many being unable to pay their instalmentss and for the loans they took on their cabs, added the English daily.

4. Drop in per-km fare giving nightmares: Where the per-kilometre fare once to hover around Rs 10, the same has dropped to Rs 6 now due to the stiff competition between Ola and Uber. Moreover, Ola Share offers share pass varying on the distance one intends to travel. For instance, once can buy a pass for Rs 10 valid for 30 days, where one would be required to pay just Rs 30 for distance up to four kms and Rs 200 for distance up to 20 kms. Similarly, Uber offers slashes rates on its ‘POOL’ rides and often gives 50 per cent discount to users on Uber Go, which is the cheapest Uber car ride after share.

5. Ola giving preference to cars owned by them: Allegations have also been made that Ola is giving preferences to its own cars rather than the ones owned by drivers.

Highlighting one such incident, a driver said that even if a car owned by them is closer to a rider, the company will book for the rider the car that is owned by the company, according to media reports.

As Uber reels under crises, Ola in talks with Tencent to raise $400 mn

Ola is shoring up on investments as it dabbles with the idea of using electric cars as cabs

Indian Companies News : India’s largest taxi aggregator Ola is in talks to raise $400 million in fresh funding from Chinese Internet behemoth Tencent as it looks to quickly expand its service in the country at a time when its global rival Uber is reeling under multiple crises.

Ola is shoring up on investments as it dabbles with the idea of using electric cars as cabs and is increasingly relying on its in-house leasing unit to grow the base of partners on its platform. The company has raised close to $400 million in funding since November when Softbank led a $230 million investment in the company at a $3.5 billion valuation.

ALSO READ: Mr Gadkari, allowing driverless cars will generate more high-paying jobs

Sources told Business Standard that Ola was indeed in talks with Tencent but nothing had been finalised just yet. The Times of India and Economic Times newspapers first reported about the two parties being in talks on Thursday, citing sources that said the round would push Ola’s valuation to over $4 billion.

Globally, Tencent is part of the anti-Uber cartel through its backing of rivals such as Didi Chuxing in China, Lyft in the US, and Go-Jek in South East Asia. The company, in many cases, has invested alongside rival Alibaba and its close ally Softbank, which incidentally is the largest investor in Ola today.

At a time when Softbank is rumoured to be in talks to pick up a small but significant share in Uber, which is valued at $69 billion, it might make sense for Ola to bring in other strong investors. Ola is Softbank’s second-largest bet in India after e-commerce firm Snapdeal, which the Japanese investor is now pushing to sell to its rival Flipkart for a song.

ALSO READ: Snapdeal to seek shareholders view before giving final nod to Flipkart

Tata’s JLR invests in Uber rival Lyft for driverless cars

InMotion’s investment in Lyft makes India’s Tata Group an indirect shareholder

Company News :Tata Motors-owned British luxury carmakr Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has invested $25 million in US ride-hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership that includes development and testing of autonomous cars.

The investment in Uber‘s chief rival Lyft was done through InMotion Ventures, the venture capital arm of JLR. This was part of the $600-million funding round the ride-hailing firm closed in April at a valuation of $7.5 billion.

In a statement, InMotion said that the innovation would help Lyft expand by supplying its drivers with fleets of Jaguar and Land Rover cars. However, more importantly, it said that the partnership would be used to further its research and development in mobility services, including autonomous cars.

“Personal mobility and smart transportation is evolving. This new collaborative venture will provide a real-world platform, helping us develop our connected and autonomous services,” VentureBeat quoted Sebastian Peck, Managing Director at InMotion.

In May, Lyft announced its partnership with Google’s self-driving vehicle spinoff, Waymo to work on developing new autonomous car technologies. The company’s focus on autonomous cars comes at a time when its rival Uber is in the midst of a crisis that could see founder Travis Kalanick taking leave, temporarily.

One of Uber’s biggest headaches right now is a lawsuit filed by Waymo, accusing Anthony Levandowski- a former Waymo employee who founded self-driving truck start-up Otto – of stealing its IP(Internet Protocol). Otto was bought out by Uber in August last year and while the company fired Levandowski recently, it is still being investigated for fraud.

Now pay for fuel, LPG at Bharat Petroleum pumps using Ola Money

Driver partners and consumers will be able to pay for their fuel and LPG requirements with Ola Money

Breaking News : Ola Money, the digital payment solution from Ola, will be accepted at Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) fuel pumps and LPG distributors across the country, the company announced on Monday.

Acceptance of Ola Money in a prominent public utility such as BPCL is another step by Ola towards supporting the government’s vision of a cashless ‘Digital India’, Ola Money Senior Vice-President Pallav Singh said in a statement here.

With the increased recharge limit on wallets from Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 until December 30, Ola Money is better positioned to facilitate convenient cashless transactions for citizens and merchants alike, the statement said.

With over 13,000 fuel stations and close to 4,500 LPG outlets, BPCL serves lakhs of people on a daily basis, it added. Read more.

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