India's Ola to launch in Britain as Uber rivalry heats up

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

In the UK, Ola will offer private vehicles for hire as well as black cabs on its platform, the statement said, adding that it will add more transportation options in the future. The Bengaluru-headquartered company forayed into the Australian market in February, where it now operates in seven cities with over 40,000 registered drivers. The company said it was working with regulators to launch nationwide by the end of the year, but is yet to submit an application for a London licence. It has obtained licences to operate in South Wales and Greater Manchester and will launch operations in South Wales within the next month.

The company, which was founded in 2011, has 125 million customers and is already present in 110 cities.

Mr Aggarwal said the United Kingdom is "one of the world's most evolved transportation markets". It claims it is charging drivers the lowest commission rates in the industry, starting at 10% for private hire vehicles and 5% for metered taxis.

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

Mint first reported on May 28 that Ola is adopting a holding company structure similar to that of India's most successful internet startup Flipkart to boost the cab-hailing company's valuation and improve the management of its businesses. For example, all Ola drivers will have to pass checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service, and its app will hold a number of features for customer safety like emergency contact details. However, the USA firm's legal woes continue as the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association said it was seeking advice about potential class action against Uber, over losses to earnings.

After years spent fighting Uber on its home ground in India, Ola is taking the fight into its rival's core markets.

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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", said Aggarwal, who is Ola's co-founder and chief executive.

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