Uber and Ola haven’t always been the best of friends. Last year, Uber had sued Ola in the Delhi High Count, alleging that its employees was sabotaging its services by making fake bookings. Ola had later hit back, calling Uber a “foreign firm with no regard for Indian laws”. The firms also compete fiercely on rates and markets – Ola had launched its bike taxis in Bangalore, hours after Uber had launched its own service.
But for once, the bitter rivals seem to be joining hands.
Uber India President Amit Jain sent out this interesting tweet today. “We’ll do our share, lets pool together”, it said. Uber’s ride-sharing service, of course, is called Uber Pool, and Ola’s is called Ola Share.
We'll do our share, Let's POOL together. #BLRNeedsPOOL pic.twitter.com/xI5eYNWUfR
— Amit Jain (@amitjain1) February 3, 2017
What’s precipitated this sudden love affair is – as is usual in these cases – a common enemy. The state transport department in Karnataka has banned ride-sharing services in the state. This is expected to hit both players hard – both had been actively promoting their ride-sharing services, and ride-sharing services are a true win-win. They lead to lower prices for consumers, while increasing fill rates, and thus revenues, for operators. The two rivals appear to have decided to join hands in lobbying that that ride-sharing services be allowed in Bangalore.
And in a rare show of solidarity, both firms have defied the government order in unison. In spite of the government giving them a deadline by which to stop their services, both have continued to operate their ride-sharing offerings. And by the looks of the latest tweet, Uber even seems willing to promote its rival’s online petitions.
It’s hard to say how long this love affair will last, but right now Uber and Ola are in it together against the Karnataka government. Old rivalries will like eventually resume, but for now, an enemy of an enemy is a friend.