Ride hailing platform Ola commits Rs 500 cr for Covid-19 safety initiatives

Ride hailing platform Ola commits Rs 500 cr for Covid-19 safety initiatives
5 Jun, 2020

Cab aggregator Ola has committed Rs 500 crore to enhance the safety of its mobility services, as the country begins to ease Covid-19 lockdown.

The ANI Technologies-owned company, which has resumed operations in over 200 cities in India, will introduce a new Covid-ready app, and set hygiene and safety benchmarks for vehicles as part of its Ride Safe India programme, a statement said.

The programme covers all modes of Ola’s offerings, such as cabs, auto rickshaws and two-wheelers, it said.

As all its vehicles are required to be fumigated every 48 hours, the company said it has set up over 500 centres at various hotspots and airports to enable it.

Additionally, the Bengaluru-based firm has introduced dedicated training modules and certification courses to ensure driver safety. The driver partners are also required to undergo daily temperature checks and adhere to the mask-detection selfie mechanism, the statement said.

“We have already pioneered a series of initiatives, including regular driver wellness checks, vehicle fumigation protocols and mask-detection technology to raise the bar of safety for consumers and driver-partners. We are taking this further by building a robust network of 500+ fumigation centres across the country,” Anand Subramanian, spokesperson and head of communications at the company, said.

Last month, both Ola and rival Uber rolled out safe travel measures when the central government lifted some restrictions on cab services across the country.

Earlier, Uber had announced ‘go online checklists’ for both riders and drivers to ensure that all driver partners were taking precautions such as wearing face masks and washing or sanitising their hands before every trip. It also updated its post-trip feedback mechanism.

Cab services, along with other transportation services, were suspended in India due to the nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25. To tide over the unprecedented slump, businesses enforced cost cutting measures, including layoffs and pay cuts.

Last month, Ola laid off 1,400 employees or about 25% of its total headcount. In an email to staffers, CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said its business had reduced 95% in two months.

Around the same time, Uber trimmed 600 jobs in India. Globally, the company undertook a massive downsizing exercise and laid off 6,700 employees.