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How To Build an App Like Ola? Tips from Taxi App Developers

30.10.2017 Daria Mickiewicz

City traffic can drive anyone mad. If you have ever been in a frantic rush to a meeting across the city without a car of your own, you may know what we mean. Rejoice—an effective change has happened in India to avoid these inconveniences—Ola cab services.


How Ola Cabs Started

Ola is an on-demand taxi-hailing service that enables people to book a cab with a smartphone. Ola provides a platform for car owners to work and earn a decent living. As of Last Fund Raise the company was valued at more than 5 billion USD.

Ola, said to be India’s most popular mobile app for cab booking, was launched on 3 December 2010 in Mumbai to solve the city’s transportation problems.

In November 2014, Ola diversified to incorporate autos on a trial basis in Bangalore. After the trial phase, Ola Auto expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata in December 2014. In December 2015, Ola expanded its auto services in Mysore, Chandigarh, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Visakhapatnam. Ola was valued at 5 billion USD in September 2015.

As of 2017, the company has expanded to a network of more than 600,000 vehicles across 110 cities.


According to Truecaller, Ola Cabs made 42.5 million calls to its users, and 59.5 million calls were made by users, which accounted for 102 million calls between Ola Cabs and its users. Uber users received 13.6 million calls from the company and called the company 25.4 million times, for a total of 39 million calls.

The business model works on a very simple concept. OLA Cabs acts as a facilitator to provide cab services to customers through multiple channels. Customers can book cabs through the website, call center, or a popular app. OLA does not own any of the cabs. Only drivers with valid permits duly authorized and verified by transport authorities can sign up to drive for OLA and they can be either self-employed or work for an operator who owns multiple cars.


How Does Ola App Work?

As stated earlier, Ola has been through its own set of ups and downs, pivots and U-turns with respect to its Business and Revenue Model. The company started out as a taxi rental fleet business (the company owned the fleet). They had a call center that used to handle bookings for customers who wanted cabs. It was similar to Meru Cabs and others ( it was basically Radio Taxi, but it was unbranded and available on an 8hr 80 km type of billing). But later, the company pivoted to an app-based cab aggregation service, and the rest is history.


Ola offers two sides to its applications, one for passengers to choose a ride, and another for drivers to accept the requested ride. Once the ride is chosen by a passenger from his/her location, the drivers nearby will get information through their app. The driver who accepts the ride will pick the passenger up from his or her location, and at the end of the ride, the passenger pays for the ride. Ola supports both cash and cashless payment options with Ola money, credit, and debit cards. So how can an app like this be made? There are three key features that need to be considered:

  1. Passenger App
  2. Driver App
  3. Backend


Ola Passenger’s App Features


You can directly register in the app using your social media profile or create a new one.


Taxi booking

There are three types of booking: full day booking, advance booking, and normal booking. In full day booking, drivers can be hired for an entire day. With advance booking, a passenger can request a booking for a future time. Normal booking sends a request to all nearby drivers, and the driver app shows a call screen with a passenger review, stars, and pickup and drop-off addresses. Drivers will receive a call, and when the driver accepts the passenger, the passenger will see that a driver is coming on the map.



Adding this feature allows passengers to register their app and provide auto payment directly from the app.


Push notifications

This feature shows all the information about a trip when the driver accepts the request. It also contains the vehicle information such as model, passenger count, color, number of the car, and the estimated time of arrival.


Ride History

Shows a complete transcription of previous trips.


Fare Calculator

Helps calculate the cost of the trip.


Driver’s review and rating

Shows customers’ comments about the driver, his or her car, and the trip safety according to other passengers.


Pickup Location

By using the built-in GPS module, you can pinpoint your exact location without typing an address.


Split Payments

Provides an option to separate payments among several passengers.


Vehicle Selection

Provides an opportunity to choose another driver for the trip.


Interactive Map and Taxi Tracking

Shows all the cabs nearby and tracks the driver during the journey in real time.



In Chat, the passenger can chat with drivers and send them regular messages or audio messages. The passengers can also chat with multiple drivers.



This allows boosting customer acquisition and retention with badges, special offers, leadership boards, etc.



Gives a discount on trips by adding a code or digital coupon.


Voice Recognition

Enables the use of voice commands to hail a taxi.


Driver App Features

Some of the driver’s app features will duplicate the passenger’s—login, push notifications, support, and messaging.


Driver profile and status

Drivers are required to provide extra verification, e.g., their license and tax number, when they register. The status functionality should help them adjust their availability and schedule.


Order alert

Sends a push notification and information on the new booking—payment, route details, etc. It should also allow accepting and cancelling orders.



Suggests the best route for the passenger.


Price Estimate

States the order price with discounts (if available).



Offer a quick glance at trip stats, earnings, and payroll.



The backend is for the driver, user, and ride stats and reports. It consists of three parts: the server, an application, and a database. You can file complaints against drivers or see active drivers. It allows you to see a live feed of events, and it has an integrated email system as well.

Backend allows one to:
  • Manage data
  • Manage driver and customer accounts
  • Track booked rides
  • Observe driver movement through GPS system
  • Provide backup in case of a failure
  • Flag driver areas, i.e., boundary division
  • Assemble overall history and all data
  • Manage transactions
  • Add or remove vehicles
  • Examine valid driver and vehicle info


What is Ola technology stack?

So here’s a question for you: on what technologies does Ola rely? Here is the basic technology stack used for many Ola apps:

Application and Data

  • nginx
  • PHP
  • Node.js
  • Java
  • AngularJS
  • CodeIgniter


  • Google Analytics
  • CloudFlare
  • SendGrid


  • New Relic
  • TrackJS

Business Tools

  • G Suite
  • AdRoll

If you want to receive a full tech stack for an Ola-like app, please do not hesitate to contact us at


How much money does Ola make?

Their revenue model is similar to Uber’s with a couple of additions. The most significant contributor to Ola Cabs’ revenue model is X% Commission from the total fare of the trip. It ranges from 15% to 20% depending on the city and type of vehicle. Ola, Uber’s biggest competitor in India, received a total equity funding of $903 million and is currently valued at $5 billion.

Most of the money earned by Ola goes to anti-fraud efforts, credit-card processing, customer support, marketing, and software development.


The trip fare is a combination of:

  • Travel Time (In Minutes): Ola charges per Minute of Travel Time after X initial free minutes
  • Distance Cost: Ola charges Per KM of Travel after an initial fixed fare Distance (varies based on the type of cab)
  • Waiting Time: If you make the driver wait, additional waiting time charges are levied
  • Service Tax on the total trip fare

Assuming Travel Cost Per Minute: 5 INR (Travel time 40 mins)

Assuming Travel Cost Per KM: 15 INR

Assuming Service Tax: 14.5%


How much does it cost to build Ola?

If you are planning to develop an app like Ola, you must first realize its development cost. The cost depends on the following:

  • iOS and Android native app development
  • UI/UX
  • Backend development
  • Web development
  • Project management
  • QA

According to estimates of similar projects, on the low-cost side, a very basic, stripped down version of an app similar to Ola could cost between $15,000 and $35,000k to get an initial version of the product to market. A more robust app could cost more and completely depends on the designs and features you want to incorporated in the application.

Feel free to contact us to ask for a strategic session with our business analyst.


Where else can be an Ola-like app used?


This taxi app may not only prove helpful for transport companies like Ola or Uber but for other businesses too. For example:

  • The company can use a taxi app for its internal services like tracking the goods from the warehouse to the store. That way, the application can be useful tracking the driver in route. Contact details and tracking can also be automated.
  • The healthcare industry is that which needs to sync riders and drivers to the large extent.
  • The hospitality industry can thrive with the automation advances of taxi apps. The customers are better served by digital services in this digital world.

Have a plan to develop an Ola-like service? If so, you are in the right place. We at VironIT, a software development company, are here to help you launch superior quality iPhone and Android apps that will take your business to the next level.

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7 responses to “How To Build an App Like Ola? Tips from Taxi App Developers”

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    Useful information…

    It will definately help us to build app like OLA & earn money.


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