Transportation app Ola today launched e-rickshaw category on its platform that will enable the users to book rides on the electric vehicle in Delhi-NCR region. The service will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the day as part of ‘Stand-Up India’ initiative, which is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship. “A total of 5,100 Ola e-rickshaws will be launched in partnership with Bhartiya Micro Credit (BMC) at the event and will be deployed across Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad. This will be further scaled up in the coming months to more small towns and Tier III cities,” Ola Chief Operating Officer Pranay Jivrajka told reporters here. The company will charge a 10% commission from the rickshaw pedallers. It will, however, not charge any convenience fee from users as is the case with auto-rickshaws. While the fare will differ city to city, users will have to pay Rs 25 for two km and Rs 8 per km for the following distance. They can pay cash or using Ola Money, the company’s wallet service. “We will soon launch ride sharing options, which will bring down the cost,” he said without disclosing a timeline. Estimates suggest there are five million rickshaw pedallers in the country. With over 60% of the India’s population residing in small towns, Ola aims to strengthen mobility in these towns with the e-rickshaw initiative, he added. “Citizens in these cities and towns currently suffer from lack of convenient and reliable mobility options, especially for short distances. E-rickshaws are an affordable and greener alternative in these cities that can serve mobility needs unique to these small towns and cities in India,” he said. Apart from financial support for procuring e-rickshaws, Ola and BMC will also set up and run skill development centres in these towns to enable continuous skilling and training for thousands of rickshaw driver-entrepreneurs. Ola already has about 80,000 auto-rickshaws and 3.5 lakh cabs on its platform. Besides, digital payments company FreeCharge has also come on board as a partner. It will enable customers to connect and pay via chat with e-Rickshaw drivers as part of its chat-n-pay service. “The drivers can register as a merchant at zero investment, on the Chat-n-Pay platform by simply adding their banking details. For consumers and drivers, Chat-n-Pay will help eliminate the hassle of managing and arranging change and will further offer convenience to pay on-the-go in a seamless and secure manner,” Govind Rajan, Chief Operating Officer, Free Charge said.