Ola launches emergency fund for drivers in India

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 27 Mar 2020

Image courtesy: Bhavish Aggarwal/Twitter

The country’s largest on-demand mobility service provider Ola has announced the launch of ‘Drive the Driver Fund’ under the aegis of its social welfare arm, Ola Foundation, to support drivers, irrespective of the platform they are on, and their families in the time of a nation-wide lockdown.

The company says the nation-wide lockdown has left the country’s drivers without any daily income, and the fund aims to support auto-rickshaw, cab, kaali-peeli and taxi drivers, through contributions from the Ola group, investors and via a crowdfunding platform for citizens and other institutions. The proceeds of the fund will help towards the welfare and upliftment of drivers and their families who have been affected by the restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The mobility industry has been brought to a grinding standstill during these stressed times, and the driver community has been finding it hard to pay for their family expenses without a source of income. Ola’s initiative aims to bring together multiple stakeholders in the ecosystem such as customers, investors and partner organisations to participate in supporting millions of drivers and their families. To begin with the Ola group and its employees are contributing Rs 20 crore, while Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO, Ola will forgo one year salary, both of which shall go towards the fund.  

This initiative will focus on key areas such as emergency support and essential supplies, which are of utmost importance to drivers during these challenging times. Drivers and their families will also have access to free medical consultation. In due course, Ola Foundation will also take up initiatives to support drivers in areas such as aid for children's education amongst others.

Anand Subramanian, spokesperson and Head of Communications, Ola said, “The crisis at this time has left thousands of drivers who form the backbone of shared mobility without an income. To support them in this testing time, we are launching the ‘Drive the Driver’ fund which will provide bare-necessities to all driver-partners, across auto-rickshaws and kaali peelis in the form of essential supplies and free medical and emergency support. To this effect, the Ola group has come together to contribute the initial capital for the fund, which can be used to provide immediate aid.”

“Millions of drivers and their families have been affected, and even a humble contribution can have a lasting impact on their well-being. We invite all the stakeholders of the mobility industry to join us in every way you can, and support the people who move us in this difficult phase. We will be stronger together,” added Subramanian.

Ola says it has undertaken a number of proactive measures to help its driver-partners and customers through the Coronavirus outbreak. Last week, the company announced a special Covid 19 insurance cover exclusive for their driver-partners and their spouses. Additionally, Ola fully waived lease rentals, akin to an EMI, for driver-partners who operate vehicles owned by Ola’s subsidiary, Ola Fleet Technologies under its leasing program. It has also formed a robust task-force consisting of members from various internal departments to ensure continuous monitoring and 24x7 availability of partner care and safety response teams for any concerns.