Home / Auto News / Demand for mobility bouncing back faster than we expected in metros: Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal

Bengaluru: Ola is seeing demand recover faster in metro cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai, with offices and leisure travel gradually opening up, the cab aggregator’s chief executive and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal said on Tuesday.

Demand for airport transfers and office commute has aided recovery for Ola’s core cab sharing segment, especially in Mumbai, where 80% of the demand has returned when compared to pre-covid levels, he said.

Ever since a national lockdown was implemented in March, demand for shared cabs and two-wheeler taxis had plunged as most people in cities and smaller towns stayed indoors. Aggarwal said that in the past few months, mobility usage trends indicate customer ditching public transport for more personal mobility choices like a rented scooter or a car.

“Mobility businesses have been affected, but it’s not like people will stop moving in the long-term...they still need to go meet their friends, and people need to continue with economic activity, and goods need to be shipped. The challenge for mobility now is to create hygienic, and safe solution for movement. In fact, there is a shift happening to personal mobility from public transport (options)," he said. Aggarwal was speaking at All India Management Association’s (AIMA’s) 47th National Convention.

Currently, Ola is present across four major business categories including on-demand cabs, two-wheeler electric vehicles, financial services, and food delivery. Mint reported recently that Ola has been speeding up plans to launch its own two-wheeler EV along with software integrations like Ola Play, and locally manufactured hardware, including NavIC, the Indian global positioning system.

Ola Electric’s upcoming two-wheeler electric vehicle (EV) will be a reconfigured version of Netherlands-based Etergo BV’s App Scooter. Etergo, which was acquired by Ola Electric in May, will launch the App Scooter in the European market this year and in Asia next year, with India being first on the list, Mint reported on 9 September.

The startup has also been stepping-up expansion of its private food delivery brands into new categories such as biryani, pizza, health and self-help meal kits.

Ola had also expanded its cab-hailing business to overseas markets such as Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom in the past. The overseas expansion of Ola comes at a time when it has been trying to establish itself in a duopoly cab-hailing market.

“By late 2017, we realized that in the Indian market, we have executed our business strategy fairly well to gain a leadership position in a duopoly. We also realized that the technology and resources we built in India can also be leveraged in other markets globally…so we chose Australia, UK, New Zealand over the last two years…While these are Commonwealth countries, and legal system similarities existed in these countries, these are also developed nations, so it also made sure to rise to the challenge of making sure our technology system is best in class in the world or on the world stage," Aggarwal added.

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