If you are heading to India or are already travelling there, you may have heard of an app called Ola. It is essentially the same as Uber but an Indian version. I first started using Ola when I was in Jaipur because the hostel manager begged me to use it. I had my suspicions because I didn’t believe that it would be any cheaper than catching a rickshaw everywhere. I actually downloaded the app before I left and completely forgot about using it until he mentioned it. This post is about the awesome advantages of using Ola but also the flippen annoying shit times that this has failed on me!
Ola is a mobile app for transport around India. By downloading the free app it allows you to request an Ola taxi from your location. You can pay cash or you can use cashless by topping up your account on the app by credit or debit card. This is my first hiccup that I had. I would rather travel cashless so I tried multiple times trying to top up my account with different cards and it would just forever load. If this system worked for me it would be a great one, but it didn’t.
Ola is great if you are travelling alone because you can track where your car is taking you. You can also load an emergency contact onto your account so if something happens and you need to alert someone quickly then it will tell them the location and all the details of the driver etc. This is a fantastic concept however, yes however, you have to load someone with an Indian phone number. Well that’s pretty much useless for me because I don’t know anyone in India who would come save me! I guess you can put a random number and then a friends email address but depending how often they check their emails, it’s pretty useless for me but great if you are travelling with someone with an Indian sim.
When you request a cab, Ola will give you the registration number and drivers name. You can also call the driver however most don’t speak English so calling them is essentially useless if you are a foreigner. When getting into the cab make sure you say are you (driver name)? Otherwise, like my driver did, he just stared at me until I said his name even when I was asking him questions.
The biggest advantage of Ola is, it is cheaper than rickshaws!! Yes, it is true and much less stressful! I went on a few trips to compare the cost of Ola vs rickshaw. Here are a couple of examples:
A trip from my Hostel to Jaipur train station:
- Ola: 76 Rupee
- Rickshaw: 100
A trip to Hawa Mahal from hostel:
- Ola: 117 Rupees
- Rickshaw: 200
Some differences may be small but if you are a backpacker they can make a difference in your budget. Not only is the money an advantage but safety also. If you’re very safety conscience then maybe a rickshaw might give you a heart attack. Most rickshaws divers are absolutely insane. Saying that, taxis also have nightmare stories around them. There has been bad stories from both sides including the taxi driver locking you in the cab where as a rickshaw you can jump out and cannot be contained.
*Recently there was a case involving an Uber driver. He raped his female passenger and has just been sent to life in prison. It’s absolutely disgusting what he did. At least with these sort of taxi companies you have all the details such as a name and the registration of the driver so they should know who it was straight away, which is great. Uber has now been banned in Delhi because of this case. You have to make your own choice on what you feel comfortable with and remember what I tell everyone, trust your gut feeling. Never travel at night if you are a solo woman, it’s not a good idea.
You can see where this is going, there are lots of advantages to catching an Ola cab, I just wish it was as easy as using UBER in the UK however this is India we are talking about and you shouldn’t have too many expectations! Try using Ola if you are travelling with someone and tell me how it goes! If you are a backpacker then you might find some of my other posts useful such as ‘How to get the cheapest flight’ and ‘How to get free accommodation’. If you are interested in more about India then read about the BEST and WORST accommodation in Delhi, it’s a funny story!