Ola is in talks with local bike operators in Kolkata to launch its Ola Bike service in the city, VCCircle reported. Ola Bike, which first rolled out in March 2016 in Bengaluru, has had a bumpy ride so far owing to regulatory hassles. The cab aggregator had to pull out Ola Bike from some cities as bikes continue to be seen as a mode of personal transport, and companies need special permits to operate bike-hailing services.
Hence, Ola is approaching local bike taxi operators, who already have a license, for either partnerships or buyouts. It has reportedly spoken to players like Tygr, OneManTaxi and K Bike for a potential association. “Ola is very keen to get into the bike taxi market in Kolkata. They offered to make us an aggregator under Ola and run our bikes for Ola Bike,” Raghav Randar, founder of OneManTaxi told VCCircle. BGR India has reached out to Ola for comment. ALSO READ: Uber, Ola debut bike taxi services in Bangalore
Last year, Ola was rumored to have approached similar local operators in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru as well. However, not much happened in terms of concrete partnerships. Ola continues to scout for opportunities to consolidate in the fast-growing bike-hailing segment where it competes with global rival Uber. Uber’s bike-hailing service, UberMOTO, recently completed 2 million trips in India. Visitor-riders from 181 cities across the world booked a ride on uberMOTO in India. ALSO READ: Uber completes 2 million ‘uberMOTO’ trips in India
Ola recently rolled out its bike service in Gurgaon and Faridabad under a special arrangement with the Harayana government. It plans to add over 500 bikes to its fleet in the next few months. India has over 150 million registered two wheelers and is the world’s second largest producer of bikes. There are about 30-40 app-based bike services in India, which larger players are eyeing to strengthen their operations. “Ola Bike will not only tap into this growing category, it will also help in providing employment opportunities to millions of Indians,” Deep Singh, Business Head – North at Ola, said in an earlier statement.