Ola App Review
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Among the clutter of offers and coupons of myriad of private cab booking apps, it is quite a task to decide which one to use. I faced a similar situation recently, so I logged on to three different apps and picked the one, which offered me the cheapest ride at the earliest available time. The app that I chose was Ola and since then I have used this app quite a few times. There are some strong pluses to it and some thumbs down as well. Here is my review on Ola app on Android-based phones.

What is it?
It is a taxi booking app that is available on Android and iOS,

Whom is it is for?
People who want to book cabs on the go.

Using it

First of all, the app works when faster compared other taxi booking apps like Uber, Taxi4Sure and Meru. When I say faster, I mean that the app does not take much time to load so you can navigate through it quickly. Also, the functionality of the app is effective.

However, everytime I fire up this app, rather than taking up the location information from my previous visit, the app navigates to somewhere in Africa and then gets to my current location.

While using the Ola app, you have an option of choosing a cab to pick you up right away or book one for sometime later. The cabs are usually available easily and the wait time frame usually 10 to 20 minutes. As soon as you book the cab (by clicking on the 'Ride Now' option), the driver details are displayed instantly on the app, which is a big plus compared to calling a radio taxi as it takes some time to confirm it.

Another thumbs up is the easy paying options. You can pay by cash as this feature is not offered by some of other taxi apps like Uber. But what I didn't like about the app is that if you do want to pay for your ride over the Web, the minimum Ola Money recharge is Rs 500 which is more than double of Uber (you need to recharge your PayTM wallet by a minimum of Rs 200 to book Uber).

Meanwhile, Ola also offers a variety of cars. You can choose the cheapest Ola Mini, the mid-range Ola Sedan, the high-end Ola Prime or Ola Pink (with women drivers in select cities). You can also book an auto through the app, which is unique and very helpful for pocket-conscious travelers. One thumbs down is that the cheapest Ola Mini is available rarely, probably, because there are more takers for it or the fleet is small in the segment.

But, the price for each of these options varies and so does the type of car. For instance, an Ola Prime fleet includes cars like Toyota Innova, Altis, Skoda Rapid and Honda Civic. Ola Mini has the likes of Tata Indica, Suzuki Omni and Nissan Micra amongst others. The Ola Sedan includes cars like Suzuki DZire, Mahindra Verito and Toyota Etios.

The Ola Pink is available only on booking the Prime cabs and charges the same price as Ola Prime.

Another thumbs down that I found in the app was the additional surcharge levied on select rides. There may be an additional surcharge during peak time. So far, there is no method or rate explained for levying the surcharges and it seems quite random and an unnecessary increase in cost in the times of cheap rides.

Safety Features
In the light of recent cases, the cab booking apps are trying to ramp up their safety features. Ola, too, on its part has added the SOS button in the app, which will send your ride details in real-time including GPS coordinates to a pre-set friend or family member of the user via SMS and email. Interestingly, another taxi app, Uber has also introduced the same feature keeping in mind the safety of female riders.

Ola app books a cab in less time.

It has ill-maintained cars with bad smell and sometimes torn seats, which reminds you, that you are using a cheap ride.
It is hard to decode the extra charges that the app might levy on you.

The Verdict
Well, it is certainly not the best app for booking cabs, but it is not too bad either. It is certainly better than a Meru app, which doesn't work effectively. In the end, a lot boils down to which app is able to get you the cab with minimum wait time and least charges.

Image Credit: windowsphonelatest.com