After Australia, Ola to challenge Uber in UK market now
07 August 2018
Cab-aggregating platforms Ola and Uber are taking their rivalry global with the home-grown Ola planning to launch services in Britain this year, months after expanding operations in Australia.
Ola has obtained licences to begin operations in South Wales in September, as well as Greater Manchester, and plans to expand nationwide by the end of the year, it said in a statement.
Ola will be the only ride-hailing app in the UK that offers passengers the option of 'private hire vehicles' (PHVs) and Black Cabs, which in the future will see additional transportation options incorporated.
While its US peer Uber Technologies Inc has a presence in Britain, it’s out of London,
The cab aggregator is working with local authorities across UK to expand nationwide by end of 2018.
"Ola is excited to announce its plans for the UK, one of the world’s most evolved transportation markets," Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ola, said. “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.”
Ola said it's inviting private hire vehicle and metered taxi drivers in Cardiff, Newport, and Vale of Glamorgan and is also offering low introductory commission rate of 10 per cent.
Founded in 2011, Ola is present across more than 110 Indian cities, and said it connects over 1 million drivers across cabs, auto-rickshaws, and taxis.
“We look forward to providing a responsible, compelling, new service that can help the country (U.K.) meet its ever demanding mobility needs,” Aggarwal said.
Ola and Uber, which both count Japan’s SoftBank Group as an investor, have so far been competing in India’s $12 billion taxi market. And by extension to the global market, SoftBank also must be hoping the market to consolidate, giving it a firm grip on the global cab aggregation market.
Ola is targeting high-profile markets to offset losses in India where consumers demanding low-cost rides makes competition more intense while for Uber, which is used to high-end markets, India is a challenge both in terms of operational costs and profitability.
Ola launched its Australia operations in February, one of Uber’s strongholds where the Indian company now has 40,000 drivers on its platform across seven cities.
Uber, in March, decided to exit Southeast Asia, allowing it to focus on India.
Ola clocks one billion rides each year globally, and has more than one million driver partners in over 110 cities, it said.
The company is also expanding into food delivery, has partnered Microsoft Corp to build a platform for networked cars, and is experimenting with electric vehicles.