For instance, Ola outstation service offers AC cabs at Rs 9 per km, which works out cheaper than taking a bus for a group of four. It also offers a ride within an hour of booking or up to seven days in advance. According to Ola, destinations like Nandi Hills, Coorg and Mysuru are among the most preferred with people in the city. It is also operating to destinations like Mangaluru, Wayanad, Coimbatore and Chennai.
Several self-drive car services like Zoomcar and Revv and carpooling services like BlaBlaCar are also operating along intercity routes, further eating into KSRTC’s revenue.
In fact, KSRTC has incurred a loss of Rs 177 crore during 2016-17, the highest in a decade due to various reasons like parallel operation of services, salary revision of employees and fuel price rise.In 2015-16, KSRTC had recorded a profit of Rs 50.95 crore.
KSRTC managing director S R Umashankar said: “We have to study their operations to tackle the threat from app-based intercity services.”
“The biggest advantage of Ola outstation services is the doorstep pick-up and availability of cabs even during weekends and during the holiday season. It also helps us book a cab at our convenient time,” said Subida S, a regular user.
Popular with drivers too
Some cab drivers say they prefer inter-city rides than city trips. “Most outstation services are during weekends and pass through highways. It’s difficult to drive in the city due to heavy traffic. So, I accept inter-city bookings. I also get better incentives for outstation services,” said Nagakunte, an Ola driver.
The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) too has tied up with Ola to provide tour packages for Nandi Hills, Mysuru, Ooty , Hampi and Madikeri.
However, KSRTC’s plan to introduce a direct special AC bus service to Nandi Hills from Bengaluru on weekends starting at 4am remains on paper.