Ola cab: To share or not share?

Mid-December, 2015, on the way back from the airport one time in Delhi, a very hassled Ola cab driver was explaining to us how henceforth we will both have to pay to ride the same cab. Of course my uncle and I just looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and decided to humor him. 

"Why would we do that? I mean we could have taken the bus and paid so much lesser if that was the case!" Confused he responded "because Ola will make you. It's a new thing they are bringing in, saab", we were still not convinced because that would be stupid, but he had gone ahead and vented all his frustration at having to maintain the cab himself and how underpaid he was and how this Ola deal was just not working out for him. He continued to tell us about the agitation and the strikes cab drivers had gone on for pay rises; I think it was being reported back then in the local daily. 

Months later, when I was back in Bangalore, I met a friend who raved about what fun it was to take the Ola share- "You meet SO many interesting people this way! Except today the man was a bit weird". She was doing a long commute from one end of the city to another, so cab was her daily mode of commute. 




What?

Of course what that cab driver was trying to explain was carpooling! Ola had already started a pilot shuttle option in Delhi which was having limited success. Even my dad, having been asked to take a break from driving by the doctor, was all in amazement of Ola share. 

Several months after that encounter, waiting outside forum mall, I decided to give it a go. I was feeling adventurous and brave. Why not? How bad can it be? Immediately my mind was painting colorful images, stringing together jarring headlines of creepy taxi drivers, missing women and late nights. Well it was day time for one, I reasoned, and I will be okay I decided as I tugged at my mini skirt and pushed the falling straps of my bag back onto my shoulder. 

The Experience

The cab driver called, courteous and patient, which was refreshing, because I had already taken enough breath to launch into a tirade of directions before he hung up on me. No need for that, he said "Where are you madam, I will come there!". Taken aback I directed him and a few minutes later my chariot awaited. Just before I hopped in I saw the name of my fellow passenger, it was a dude. I was like hmm, and instantly took the front seat.(I wasn't thinking- rather be leched at by the cab driver than a stranger, huh? Nope, not thinking). The moment of truth, neither the passenger northe cab driver leched. I am going to let that sink in before I go on. 


Its true, this Ola share, among other things is a great test of having faith in the people of your city. I felt bad for judging my fellow passenger. After a few minutes of contemplation and counting I made small talk. Very small talk, enough to start a conversation but not enough to make someone hate you and want you to shut up already. Like a hook "so where will you be getting off?" and just like that we were talking about Civil War, the movie not period in history, Bangalore, MBAs and other things under the sun. 

Yay... 

This ride cost me as much as an auto costs me (half of how much it would cost if I took the cab alone) and nearly an hour and a half. Fortunately having someone to talk to kept me from dozing off in the cab or dying of boredom in solitude or battling the urge to scream at the cab driver for playing obnoxiously loud (insert choice native language) music. This was great! 

Or nay...

On the downside, this was my first time, so this review would be a first time experience and not an average of many. Additionally, this carpooling means going a little out of the way to drop each person thus extending your journey (mine by 20 odd minutes). Besides that I would definitely do a share again, for long distances of course. I am not so sure I would even take a cab for a short distance. But that is just me. 

What about you? What was your experience with Ola or Uber share? Was it the opposite and terrible? If it was I definitely want to know. Leave me comment. 

--x---

Disclaimer: Ola isn't paying me for this review, although I wish they were. *laughs* 

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