Softbank's Indian Uber challenger brand Ola is launching in the UK

Lloyd Doyle
August 7, 2018

Indian ride-hailing app Ola has announced plans to launch its services in Britain, as it seeks to challenge Uber's dominance.

The firm is to launch in Cardiff, Newport and Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales within the next month, followed by Greater Manchester, after obtaining operating licences, and is working with local authorities to expand nationwide.

It will also add more transportation options going forward, in a similar fashion to how its Indian app offers rickshaw rides to its more than 110 cities.

Britain will be Ola's second global market after it started operations in Australia in February.

Ola's app will allow riders to choose from services across both private hire vehicles and black cabs, in a bid to shake things up by challenging major United Kingdom taxi disruptors Uber and Gett at the same time.

Globally it has over 1 million driver partners who generate around a billion ride every year.

Ola may also face local competition in the form of Uber's closest USA rival, Lyft, which has been in talks to start services in London.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola co-founder and chief executive officer, said the Bengaluru-based company would look forward to a "continued engagement with policymakers and regulators as we expand across the country and build a company embedded in the UK". It is hugely popular in its home market of India, where Uber also operates. The company claims to have 125 million customers across the globe.

Back in India, Ola and Uber have been burning cash for the past four or five years in a bid to outgun each other. The company will take 10% of any private hire fare, and 5% of a black taxi fare - which is now a lower commission rate than Uber.

After Ola's lead investor, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, became the largest investor in Uber following a large secondary share purchase past year, speculations were rife that Uber could eventually merge its India operations with Ola.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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