Friday, 17 August, 2018

Indian ride-hailing firm Ola to take on Uber in Britain

Less than a year after launching in Australia India’s largest cab-hailing start-up Ola is planning to launch its service in the UK Less than a year after launching in Australia India’s largest cab-hailing start-up Ola is planning to launch its service in the UK
Ginger Lawrence | 08 August, 2018, 14:15

It plans to further expand its presence across the United Kingdom by the end of 2018.

Ola will initially side-step London, where Uber has just managed to garner a 15-month extension on its operating license, and will instead begin operations in South Wales and Greater Manchester, and is working with authorities to expand nationwide by the year-end.

Ola claims to handle one billion rides each year globally, with more than one million drivers and 125 million customers in over 110 cities.

Ola will intensity its rivalry with ride-hailing giant Uber, which says it operates in more than 40 towns and cities across the UK.

Ola said it would offer industry-leading commissions and daily payments to drivers, take note of passenger safety with screened drivers and a 24/7 voice support, options to share details with emergency contacts.

Aside from Uber, Ola will be up against the rival ride-hailing app Gett, and the London-focused firms MyTaxi, Kabbee and Addison Lee.

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Ola was last valued at $7bn (£5.4bn) when it raised a $3bn mega-round from Softbank, Chinese backers Tencent and Didi Chuxing, and DST Global.

Services such as Uber - often called "ride-hailing" or "ride-sharing" apps - at their simplest were created to link drivers, via a mobile phone app, with people who they were prepared to give a lift to in return for a bit of petrol money. Yesterday, the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) and 11 other organisations in London will be filing a case against Uber.

Uber, in March, chose to exit Southeast Asia, allowing it to focus on India.

The move also brings one of Uber's latest battles.

"The UK is a fantastic place to do business and we look forward to providing a responsible, compelling, new service that can help the country meet its ever demanding mobility needs".

Britain will be Ola's second venture into a foreign market after it started operations in Australia in February. "We look forward to our continued engagement with policymakers and regulators as we expand across the country and build a company embedded in the UK", Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Ola said.