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Ola waives off monthly rent for its drivers in India

Ola and Uber has had to suspend operations as the country went into complete lockdown for 21 days.

As all taxi and cab services have come to a standstill in India due to the novel coronavirus, Bengaluru-based cab-hailing giant Ola has relieved its drivers who lease vehicles from the company from paying monthly rent.

Softbank-backed Ola, under its leasing program run by Ola Fleet Technologies, provides vehicles for drivers who don’t own one. The driver can lease a car by paying a one-time deposit of anywhere between INR 21,000 to 31,000 (USD 276 to 408 ) depending on the type of vehicle and the city they are in. Apart from this, drivers also have to pay a non-refundable deposit of INR 4,000. Once they get a vehicle, the driver has to pay a monthly rent of INR 700 to 1150.

“We are fully waiving away lease rentals, akin to an EMI [Equal Monthly Installment], for driver-partners who operate vehicles owned by Ola’s subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies under its leasing programme,” the company said in a statement.

Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal, in his tweet, said over 30,000 drivers who have taken a vehicle on lease from the company would benefit from this. Ola has asked its driver to safely return the vehicles to avail this benefit. The company has got hold of huge parking spaces for securely keeping these vehicles. In his tweet, Aggarwal said, “various ecosystem partners have graciously extended their parking lots and real estate.”

One of the parking lots where Ola is temporarily keeping its vehicles till the services resume. (Picture source: Bhavish Aggarwal’s tweet)

The company in its statement also said that its drivers and their spouses who have contracted coronavirus would be covered in its insurance scheme of up to INR 30,000 for hospital and treatment expenses. The drivers will also receive a compensation of INR 1,000 for 21 consecutive days.

“Further our benefits on insurance for drivers and their spouses against loss of income due to contraction of COVID-19 as well as other medical support during this time will continue to be offered to all our driver-partners across the country,” Ola said.

Its rival Uber, which is also backed by SoftBank has launched a similar plan on a global scale for drivers and delivery staff who will receive compensation for a period of 14 days. Ola and Uber both have suspended their services across the country as India went under complete lockdown for three weeks starting today.

Currently, the total number of confirmed cases in India has crossed 550 with 10 reported deaths.