OlaCabs masks customer numbers as part of $20-mn safety initiative

Online taxi service provider OlaCabs has taken steps to mask customer's mobile number as part of its $20- million (over Rs130 crore) initiative to improve passenger safety.

The Bengaluru-based taxi aggregator has added a new number masking feature to its taxi-hailing app that does not disclose the customer's mobile number to drivers.

Drivers who will be calling from their Ola devices will not be able to view the consumer's number. They will be routed automatically through the encrypted mobile number. Thus, consumer mobile numbers will not be revealed to the drivers.

"All driver-partners on the Ola platform are verified and licenced by the local authorities. They have to necessarily undergo the mandatory training at the time of on-boarding and subsequent feedback driven training from time to time," Ola chief operating officer Pranay Jivrajka said.

He said the number masking feature will also help drivers save on calling costs, while Ola will be able to closely monitor driver behaviour and conversations, resulting in a superior experience for users.

The process of encrypting consumer cell numbers will be effective in all locations where Ola operates its taxi services for all drivers and partners, the company stated in a release.

The new feature comes as part of Ola's commitment to allocate $20 million for safety initiatives over this year, he added.

Besides number masking, the Ola app offers features like live GPS tracking, sharing of ride details, feedback and reporting during the ride as well as an in-app SOS button to ensure passenger safety.

"As a technology platform, we are committed to bringing scalable and sustainable programmes to ensure that user safety and security is always above everything else," Jivrajka said.