Cab aggregator Ola has quietly launched a membership service called Ola Select that offers a host of additional features to regular commuters at a fixed monthly fee.
Select, which is currently in its beta launch, can be availed by anyone who is willing to pay ₹549 per month to get free lounge access at airports and upgrade to Ola Prime while being charged for a Mini.
According to people aware of the development, Ola Select is a new initiative from Ola’s Innovation Labs, which is working on multiple such experiments.
A different version of Ola Select was launched last year, wherein only select regular customers were offered free upgrades to Ola Prime and free Wi-Fi access without any additional fee.
This time, however, the service is available to anyone who is willing to pay for it.Additional benefits
Some of the additional benefits that the service claims to offer include ‘no peak pricing’, giving a sort of protection from high surge in cab pricing, which can be more than double the regular fare during peak hours.
Ola Select customers will get free Wi-Fi access in all cab rides, and will be given priority customer support and high-rated drivers. In addition, the company says it will give out offers and discounts from partner brands to its Select customers.Membership-based services
In 2005, online retailer Amazon had launched Amazon Prime, an annual paid membership offering customers additional services including free two-day shipping, free music streaming and photo storage on its cloud service.
Even Flipkart runs a similar service called Flipkart First, charging customers ₹500 per year for free shipping, discounted same-day delivery and early access to newly launched products.
For Ola, which is reeling under heavy losses due to competition from rival Uber, the new service could be a tool to build loyalty on its platform. Most customers currently toggle among different apps to check which cab aggregator could give them a cheaper fare, and are often willing to switch operators for a small difference in price.
With Ola Select, since they’ve paid a monthly fee, customers will be forced to take only Ola to ensure they are getting maximum value for the fee paid.
For customers, the service means peace from the harrowing peak pricing and an assurance of better drivers.
Ola declined to comment on the offering.