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


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


How Ola Cabs Started

Ola is an on-demand taxi hailing service which enables people to book car ride with the help of 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 over 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 transport woes.

In November 2014, Ola diversified to incorporate autos on trial basis in Bangalore. Past the trial phase, Ola Auto expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata starting December 2014. In December 2015, Ola expanded its auto services in Mysore, Chandigarh, Indore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati and Visakhapatnam. Ola was valued at $US5 billion as of 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 a whopping 42.5 million calls to its users, while 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 – which totaled 39 million calls.

The business model works on a very simple concept. OLAcabs acts as a facilitator in providing cab-booking services to customers through multiple channels. Customers can book their cabs through the website, call centre or a popular app. OLA does not OWN any of the cabs. Only those drivers with valid permits duly authorised and verified by transport authorities can sign up with OLA and they could be either self-employed or work for an operator who owns multiple cars.


How Does Ola App Work?

Well 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. When they started out – They started out as a Taxi Rental Fleet Business (They owned the Fleet). They had a call center which used to do bookings for customers who wanted cabs. Pretty similar to Meru Cabs and others (Basically Radio Taxi but unbranded and available on an 8hr 80 km kind of billing). But later on they pivoted into an app based cab aggregation service and the rest is history.


Ola offers two sides of applications, one for a passenger to choose ride, and another for a driver to accept the requested ride. Once the ride is chosen by a passenger from his/her location, the drivers nearby will get intimation through their app. The accepted driver will pick passenger up from his location and at the end of the ride, the passenger will pay for the ride. Ola supports both cash, and cashless payment options with Ola money, credit and debit cards. So how could 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 the whole day. In the advance booking, a passenger can request a booking for future. The normal booking sends a request to all nearby drivers, and the driver app shows a calling screen with a passenger review, stars, pickup and drop-off addresses. Drivers will receive a call. When the driver accepts the passenger, the passenger will see a driver is coming on his map.



Adding this feature enables to register passenger`s app and provide auto payment right from the app.


Push notifications

This features shows all the information about the trip when the driver accepts the request. Also contains the vehicle information such as model, passenger count, color and number of the car and average time of arrival.


Ride History

Shows a complete transcription of previous trips.


Fare Calculator

Helps to calculate the cost of the voyage.


Driver’s review and rating

Shows customers’ comments about the driver, his car and the trip safety of other passengers.


Pickup Location

By using inbuilt GPS module, you can point the exact location without typing an address.


Split Payments

Provides an option of separate payments between several passengers.


Vehicle Selection

Gives an opportunity to pick up 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 him regular messages or audio messages. The passengers can also chat with multiple drivers.



Allows boosting the customer acquisition and retention with badges, special offers, leadership boards, etc.



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


Voice Recognition

Enables the usage of voice commands for taxi hailing.


Driver App Features

Some of the driver 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

Push notification and information on the new booking – payment, route details etc. Should allow accepting and canceling orders.



Suggests the best route to the passenger and onward.


Price Estimate

States the order price with discounts (if available).



Offer a quick glance on trip stats, earnings, and payroll



The backend is for 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. It has an integrated email system as well.

Backend App developed by VironIT

Backend App developed by VironIT

Backend allows 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 the question for you: what technologies does Ola rely on? Here is a basic technology stack used for making 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


How much money does Ola make?

Their revenue model is pretty similar to Uber’s with a couple of additions to it.  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 $903m and is currently valued at $5B.

Most of the money earned by Ola goes to antifraud 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 initial free X minutes
  • Distance Cost: Ola charges Per KM of Travel after an initial fixed fare Distance (varies as per the type of cab)
  • Waiting Time: In case you made the driver wait, additional waiting time charges are levied to you
  • 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 should first realize its development cost. This cost depends on the following services:

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

According to our estimates of similar projects, on the low-cost side, a very basic stripped down version of an app similar to Ola could cost between $15k and $35k to get an initial version of the product to market. A more robust app could cost more and completely depend on the designs and features you want to be 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 the transport companies like Ola or Uber but for other businesses too, for example:

  • The company can use a taxi app for their internal services like tracking the goods from warehouse to the store. That way the application can be useful for keeping track of the driver en route. Contact details and tracking can be automated.
  • Healthcare industry is the one which needs to sync the riders and drivers to the large extent.
  • Hospitality industry can thrive with automation advances of a taxi app. The customers are better served with the digital services in this digital world.

Have a plan to develop an Ola-like service? If you do, 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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