The app-based cab hailing service Ola's endeavour to help the citizens of Chennai is commendable. It has deployed boats in water-logged and partially submerged areas in the city, based on the information provided by the Fire and Rescue Department of Tamil Nadu. The boats, the company informs, are being manned by professional rowers and fishermen.
"The boats will also be used to provide food and drinking water in specific areas which are reportedly short of basic supplies. Both ferrying services and supplies will be offered free of cost to citizens," states an official statement from the company.
Each boat will be manned by two rowers and can ferry between five to nine people in a single trip. Ola is also providing rain gear to all rowers, which will help them ferry people. The company has also stocked umbrellas in every boat. These services are expected to be available over the next three days and might get extended if water-logging continues in the city, says the company.
However, there is no clarity on the number of boats being deployed for the activity.
Ola deployed predominantly branded boats in flood-hit Chennai. What do you think? #Tellafaqs!— afaqs! (@afaqs) November 18, 2015
Ravi Teja, business head of Tamil Nadu, Ola, says, "While we are addressing the increased demand for transportation in the city through the Ola app, we are also working closely with local stakeholders to help ferry those stranded in water-logged areas. Boats deployed by Ola will help ferry people to safer areas and in distribution of essential supplies like food and drinking water in affected areas."
Founded in 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola (formerly Olacabs), integrates city transportation for customers and driver partners onto a mobile technology platform that ensures convenient, transparent and quick service fulfilment. The service is available across 102 cities. Users can book from over 2,50,000 cabs, 75,000 auto rickshaws, Kaali Peeli taxis and yellow taxis through this platform. The app is available on Windows, Android and iOS platforms. Ola recently acquired TaxiForSure, a cab aggregator, which continues to operate as an independent brand.