Ola And Uber Are Now Fighting Over Nationalism

01/07/2016 5:03 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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In this March 29, 2016 photo, Ola cabs, left, waiting for customers are parked next to other cars in Kolkata, India. Aiming to wrest control of India’s booming taxi market, two cab-hailing smartphone apps, Uber and Ola, are promising hundreds of millions in new investments while also facing off with one another in court. (AP Photo/ Bikas Das)

Cab hailing services Ola and Uber are fierce rivals. Both have been trying to outcompete each other with cheaper fares and bragging rights over funding. But earlier this week, the rivalry between spilled over to accusations of who might be doing more nation-building.

Ola’s COO Pranay Jivrajka, wrote in a blog post, "It is a shame that our competition has to fan a debate of nationalism to hide their identity of being a multi-national, with serial violations of law as a business strategy, not just in India, but globally. This debate in our view is not about foreign vs local but who is respectful of the local laws and who is disrespectful."

Jivrajka alleges that Ola’s “competition” disregarded regulation and norms in several instances such as running bike taxis in Gurgaon with white number plates instead of the mandated yellow number plates. “They continue to operate this service, even today as you read this, inspite of receiving multiple notices and seizures of hundreds of vehicles by the local authorities, also terming it as aiding and abetting an organized crime,” said the post.

The post appears to be in response to another blog post by rival Uber’s General Manager for South And West in India, Bhavik Rathod, who wrote the post following a 15-page affidavit filed with the Karnataka High Court by Ola, "Uber has the deepest respect for the laws of India. What makes Uber 'foreign'? The fact that we are established in San Francisco but have a hyperlocal team solving problems that are locally relevant? Or that, just like our competitors, we received most of our funding from 'foreign' investors?"

Uber's Rathod noted, “products like autos, shuttles and bikes may be unregulated and termed illegal right now but hold promise in serving the city’s transport needs… It’s not about ‘bypassing laws of the land’ but it’s about building for tomorrow by participating today – so we don’t stifle the innovations that is surely coming to us tomorrow.”

Jivrajka, for his part, called attention to the company's humble roots: “From our origins in a 1BHK apartment in Mumbai that Bhavish, Ankit and I shared, Ola has built its business on the strong foundation of creating value for society. And reposing its faith in the institutions of the judiciary and government.”

We say, safety and fares might be bigger hits with customers.

Also Read: Uber And Ola Enter The Battle Of Bike Taxis

With PTI inputs

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