Taxi service app Ola cabs was in the news last month for mistakenly leaking sensitive details like phone numbers of its many users to a Chennai customer. To make amends, the company has now released another safety feature that will keep all users’ number private, and even driver partners will not be able to see them.
The new feature is called ‘Number Masking’ and it enables customer’s mobile number to remain undisclosed to drivers. The driver gets an encrypted number instead, and will not be able to see the user’s real number at all.
In addition to masking numbers, these driver calls are now made directly through the app, cutting the driver’s cost of calling the customer. This also enables tracing the call back to the driver, in case of any discrepancy reported.
Ola has announced that it has set aside $20 million (Rs 131 crore approximately) towards safety initiatives in the current year. Just a few days ago, it was reported that Ola has managed to raise as much as $225 million (Rs 1,478 crore approximately) from existing investors led by Falcon Edge Capital.
The company even announced a new cab leasing programme, which will enable flexibility for drivers to lease a car for a minimal initial deposit and monthly lease payments , and an option to own the vehicle after a period of 3 years. The company plans to add 1 lakh cabs by 2016 through this program, and has dedicated Rs 5,000 crore for this purpose.
Ola was founded in 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal, and the company has now grown to become one of the top competitors to international entrant Uber. In addition to having acquired rival TaxiForSure last month for $200 million, the company has expanded its services as well. Recently, it brought kaali-peeli taxis and auto rickshaws onto its platform to give its customers cheaper options to choose from. Ola also recently launched Ola Cafe, a 20 minute food delivery service, followed by an online grocery delivery app called Ola Store.