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Power of ideas 2012: Online taxi startups like Ola Cabs, Savaari spell good business for taxi driver

By Radhika P Nair, October, 2012. Kalpesh Desai, 32, who drives his own taxi in Mumbai, dreams big these days. Desai’s income has gone up 40% in the six months since joining online taxi aggregation startup Ola Cabs. “I will pay off my car loan in two to three years and then buy another car and employ a driver for that,” says Desai, the sole bread-winner of his family. “I will become a cab operator from being a driver.” But it is not just about the money. “My life has improved,” says Desai, who has two young children.

This is because Ola has come up with incentives for the drivers, none of whom are on its rolls—medical reimbursement for families of drivers working for more than three months, and free education for up to a year for the children of drivers rated the best in a three-month period. Ola is not alone in providing such benefits . As private equity-backed online aggregators such as Ola, TaxiforSure and Savaari take off, they are realising that the key to their success is with the driver.

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