Ola Shuts TaxiForSure Operations Abruptly; Lays off Close to 1,000 Employees
[Updated from Ola at the end of the post]
It has been around 18 months since TaxiForSure’s acquisition by Ola and finally its operations have been brought to an end by India’s largest cab aggregator. By the end of 2015, Ola had ceased TFS’ operations in around 22 cities in India, and completely taken over its operations in these cities.
It comes as no surprise that Ola has finally closed down its TaxiForSure unit, transferring all power and operations to itself. What is definitely surprising is that Ola will be laying off close to 90% of TFS’ workforce, or around 1,000 employees across cities.
According to VCCircle’s report, employees from call centers, driver relations and business development units will be laid off, with compensation provided for the next three months. Layoffs have been harsh in the past but not many Indian startups have fired so many people at once. Ola had kept these three units of TFS separate from its primary cab operations and these three will also be the worst hit.
At the time of acquisition, around 1,300 TaxiForSure employees had been merged with Olacabs, out of which a few left the company for better opportunities. Ola has retained 250 from the remaining, from the middle and the lower levels.
Is this to strengthen the fight against Uber?
Uber lost the battle to Didi Chuxing in China and China’s largest cab aggregator bought the San Francisco-based giant last month. If you don’t know yet, Didi Chuxing, Ola, Lyft and GrabTaxi have formed an alliance to take down Uber by working closely in their specific regions.
Ola’s acquisition of TaxiForSure was a reminder that Ola is here to stay and battle it out with the king in India. According to ride volumes, Ola is definitely miles ahead of Uber, but Uber is swiftly getting on track with ride-sharing and other features to attract customers from Ola.
Ola has also been adding a host of new features like Ola Lux, Ola Executive postpaid billing service, E-rickshaws and more cab-hailing options in terms of automobiles. Ola certainly offers more options as compared to Uber and plans to take on the American company with its desi connection.
With TaxiForSure’s final nail in the coffin, Ola might be looking at other companies to improve its services in India. TaxiForSure customers will now have to completely switch over to Ola app, which were anyway quite less in absolute numbers. Meanwhile Uber is launching unique schemes and offers to keep its customers engaged.
[Update] Statement from Ola
“The TaxiForSure (TFS) value proposition as an economy brand for customers, has been seamlessly integrated onto the Ola platform with the launch and rapid adoption of Ola Micro. TFS has contributed immensely towards Ola Micro’s success within a short span of time. Ola Micro has expanded to over 90 cities across India and accounts for the largest share of first time cab users coming onto any mobility platform. This has helped us achieve our objective of building an economy mobility offering for millions of users across the country. With all TFS driver-partners and customers coming on board the Ola app, the integration is now complete. As part of this integration over the last 18 months, we have achieved immense operational efficiencies, that have resulted in an improved experience for customers and driver-partners alike. In the course of the integration, we have absorbed as many TFS employees for open roles in Ola to support our growth. For positions that cease to exist as a result of this transition, we are offering enhanced severance benefits and outplacement services to help affected employees pursue new career opportunities.”