Feb 13, 2015

Why I like Olacabs and where they can improve?

In the past 3-4 months, I have become a regular user of Olacabs. Though I work from home, I do need to travel to meet customers in Bangalore as well as my colleagues in Pune. In the past, if I had to travel on my own, I would choose BMTC buses if I know the exact location where I'm supposed to go and there were well-connected bus stops. Or I would end up haggling with a reluctant auto-driver who never agrees to go anywhere (Seriously, how do these guys make money if they don't want to move at all?). Sorry, no self-driving for me - neither skilled in that department nor motivated to learn either.

Ever since I started to take Olacabs, I'm not too worried about traveling to different parts of the city. I usually travel during day time and I also ensure I share the SMS of the driver details with my husband. Glad they have also implemented a SOS feature to alert your emergency contact in case of any issue.

I recharge my Ola Money now and then, so there's no need to deal with cash while you are traveling. The invoices are sent by email and so you don't have to worry about paper bills.

The rates are reasonable (compared to auto-rickshaws) and they also run promotional offers where you get some good discounts.

I haven't faced any issues with availability of cabs (except once), which many in my social circle feel, is a big problem with Olacabs.

Yes, Olacabs has made my life a lot easier.  "Thank you all! Keep up the good work!"

The experience of a "tech product powered service" doesn't start and end with the mobile app alone. There are multiple important factors beyond the app that can hinder the overall user experience. That's where I believe Olacabs can improve further.

There's an inherent assumption by the cab drivers that the passenger knows the EXACT location and the EXACT route to take. I might know the location to a certain extent, thanks to living in the city for many years and Google maps. But assuming that I would also know the route is incorrect. There are many who may not have a data plan on their phones. Even if they do, there are frequent disconnections from 3G. 

A weird incident happened when I asked the cab driver to take a certain route. This road was full of potholes, which I was aware of. After some time, he turned to me and said "22 bumps so far". And then I realized he is counting them one by one, shaking his head and showing frustration on drivers who were driving slowly in front of our cab. I don't know what is worse - knowing the route or not? :-)

Recently, I had booked a cab to pick me up from Electronic City. I had given the exact address while making the booking ("Ride Later" option). For nearly 30 minutes, the cab driver was trying to reach my pick-up point. Multiple calls were made, couple of landmarks given but he couldn't figure out my exact location. After finally boarding the cab, the driver cribs that I need to provide him more landmarks and he had wasted nearly 16 km roaming around. What if a person new to the city wants to take a cab? Are they expected to know the location and landmarks in detail? The driver also mentioned that he doesn't get the pick-up address in his mobile app. This should be easy to fix.

If the driver cannot check Maps when he is not aware of the route, there should be a way to key in the destination and the app can narrate the route, in the language the driver understands.

The other area that Ola can do better is share the languages that the driver is comfortable with. In a cosmopolitan city like Bangalore, this info would be very helpful, especially if we need to communicate our exact location and landmark. We can even choose Language as an optional parameter while booking a cab.

The important feedback which I have also raised to Ola separately in an email is that of unnecessary talking and questioning by the cab driver. This is even more uncomfortable, if you are a woman traveling alone. Why does the cab driver need to know where I'm going, where I'm working and when I'm planning to return? I usually don't respond if such questions come up. But I seriously believe Ola should educate drivers not to ask such questions.

Hoping to see these nagging issues being fixed and we get an excellent overall experience.

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