Indian Cab-Hailing Firm Ola Expands Foreign Presence, To Take On Uber in UK
Ola has obtained the licenses to run taxi services in South Wales and Greater Manchester, and expects to expand its presence across the United Kingdom by the year-end.
Indian taxi aggregator Ola Cabs is launching its operations in the United Kingdom, months after it entered Australia.
Ola has obtained the licenses to run taxi services in South Wales and Greater Manchester, and is working with local authorities to expand its presence across the United Kingdom by the end of 2018.
“Ola is excited to announce its plans for the UK, one of the world’s most evolved transportation markets,” CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement on Aug.7. “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,” he added.
The company will allow passengers the option to book local black cabs, besides private hired vehicles (PHV), through the Ola app. It is now inviting PHV and metered taxi drivers in Cardiff, Newport and Vale of Glamorgan to learn more about driving with the firm, and has urged the drivers to take the benefits of a low introductory commission rate.
As Ola adds the United Kingdom as its second stop in its international journey, the company will put up further challenge to Uber. The Indian rival to the American taxi calling app took the competition beyond India when it launched operations in Australia earlier this year. It now has 40,000 registered drivers across seven cities in the country.
In the United Kingdom, Ola will join the apps Gett and Mytaxi to link passengers to black cabs. Uber does not provide this choice, and has seen vociferous opposition from drivers of black taxis.
Uber has also experienced hurdles with regulators in London, and lost its license to operate in the city last year after the Transport for London (TfL) said that it was not a “fit and proper” operator. In June this year, a judge overturned TfL’s assessment and provided a 15-month probationary license to the firm.
Both Ola and Uber have Japan’s Softbank as an investor.
Ola was founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in Bengaluru in 2011, and operates in 110 cities in India. It integrates city transportation, including autos, for customers and driver-partners onto a mobile technology platform. Uber was launched two years before Ola, and operates in 600 cities in 65 countries.