Millennium Post

Govt departments, PSUs eye Ola, Uber ride sans 'surge' pricing

Looking to save on huge taxi bills, government departments and PSUs are now turning to popular ride-hailing apps like Ola and Uber for their transportation needs and have been promised service without any 'surge pricing'. Both Uber and Ola are looking at offering taxi services to government departments at special rates and have registered at the portal of government e-marketplace (GeM).

Besides, Ola is also in discussions with various public sector units (PSUs) for its 'Corporate' offering. The GeM was launched last month for buying goods and services by central ministries and departments for greater transparency in government procurement, which is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore a year. According to an official, the government is looking at significant savings as various departments currently shell out as much as Rs 40,000 every month per taxi. "What has been agreed is that they will give a monthly bill to us, something they have never done. Second, for the government, there will be no surge pricing," the official said.

The official added that the organisations need cabs everyday and "if you get the Uber and Ola, it is economical and it is efficient. You also get a complete tracking of distance and clear-cut billing". The demand for taxi services in government departments is growing and companies like Uber and Ola are keen on tapping this segment. Besides, Ola is in discussions with various public sector units (PSUs) for its 'Corporate' offering as it looks to bring on board the top 100 companies in the country. "Ola Corporate's strength lies in providing agile solutions which help organisations in designing and customising their travel policies while streamlining the entire process. We are in talks with many PSUs and by next year, we would have a long list of PSUs using our service," Ola Head (Corporate) Ankit Jain said.

He, however, declined to comment on the names of the PSUs and the targetted number of state-run entities that it would partner. "By next year, Ola intends to have the top 100 companies of the country as its clients. Small businesses and start-ups are also on our radar," Jain said.

Launched in January this year, Ola already offers its services to corporates like Airtel, Reliance ADAG, Larsen and Toubro, Godrej and Taj Hotels. Using 'Corporate', organisations get benefits like centralised billing and customisation features that helps them save up to 60 per cent on business travel. Ola claims that over 2 lakh corporate employees in more than 100 cities are already using its 'Corporate' 

Talking about the PSU segment, Jain said that many private companies/government organisations continue to follow the conventional route of booking, where they outsource their travel needs to be managed by a travel agency or facilitate the reimbursement mechanism for the expenses incurred by employees.

"With corporate houses spending a considerable percentage of their annual expenditure on travelling requirements, there was an immediate need/scope for technology intervention in order to make this process seamless and thus increase productivity. With Ola Corporate, these entities have access to a wide range of mobility options at a fraction of the cost as against the existing corporate travel options," he said. 

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