Hundreds of Ola drivers are gearing up to bring the lights and spirit of Diwali to the streets of Auckland by setting their cars a-glow during the festival weekend.
As candles and diyas begin to take pride of place in households celebrating the festival of lights across the country, Ola drivers are also preparing to add a kaleidoscope of illuminated colour to their cars in a symbolic nod to Diwali’s light-inspired custom.
Ola drivers will be lighting up their cars’ interiors with glowing lights in a rainbow of colours, synchronised to music, as they ferry passengers around our cities during the festival, giving their passengers a taste of the spectacular Diwali spirit that is so widely celebrated across the Indian subcontinent and beyond.
Ola driver Bankim Patel, whose family immigrated from Gujarat, India, to Auckland 17 years ago has been driving for the Indian-founded rideshare company since its launch in New Zealand last year.
He says lighting up his car will be a fun way to celebrate his culture, spread the happiness of Diwali with his passengers and create a memorable ride for them during the festival.
“In India – everything is lit up for Diwali, from houses to temples and shops. It’s like Christmas for us.
“Adding colourful lights to my car is a way to share a little of the festival mood and party atmosphere of Diwali with my passengers.
“I hope the lights act as a bit of a conversation starter, because one of the beauties of living in New Zealand is that we celebrate all kinds of cultures.”
Mr Patel also plans to extend the Diwali ritual of exchanging authentic Indian sweets, to his passengers, offering them the chance to try delicacies like Jalebi and Ladoo.
“Like everything to do with Diwali, even some of the sweets are technicolour!” he says.
Brian Dewil, Country Manager of Ola New Zealand says Diwali is a great opportunity to celebrate the diversity of its driver community and recognises the heritage of the rideshare company.
“Ola has more than 7000 drivers across the country, who come from a diverse range of cultural and religious backgrounds. Offering our drivers the opportunity to light up their cars for what is one of the most important festivals of the year for many of them, reflects that.”
The Auckland Diwali Festival (12-13 October) will be held in Queen Street and Aotea Square where more than 50,000 people are expected to turn out to enjoy music, dance, food, culture and fireworks, making it one of New Zealand’s largest cultural festivals.
Ola is New Zealand’s fastest-growing rideshare platform, operating in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra and now the Sunshine Coast, in Australia. Ola delivers a better value ride to passengers and a better deal to drivers, who take home more from every trip.