Ride-hailing app Ola ramps up rivalry with Uber as it prepares UK launch

Indian firm said it charges drivers industry-low commission rates

Caitlin Morrison
Tuesday 07 August 2018 10:57 BST
Protesters march against Uber in London

Ride-hailing app Ola has unveiled plans to launch in the UK, with drivers for the firm set to earn a bigger chunk of passenger fares than they would working for rival services.

The Indian firm, which offers passengers the option of booking a private hire vehicle, said it will bring a “dynamic, responsible new service to the market”, after obtaining licences to operate in Greater Manchester and South Wales.

Ola’s management has spent time speaking with local authorities in the regions where it plans to operate and said it is “recognised for its collaborative approach, working with national governments and local authorities, to help solve transport mobility issues in innovative and meaningful ways”..

The company expects its strategy to avoid issues which have beset rival Uber, which has previously lost its operating licences in London and Brighton & Hove.

Another way in which Ola has differentiated itself from the existing UK taxi apps is in its payment offer to drivers.

The company said it will take 10 per cent commission from private hire vehicles, and 5 per cent from black cabs, both of which Ola claims are industry lows, meaning drivers take home a bigger portion of the fare.

The group said it “places drivers at the heart of its approach, providing the industry’s leading commissions, resulting in higher earnings and daily payments” and also “seeks to lead the industry with its approach to passenger safety”, with features including fully screened drivers, options to share ride details with emergency contacts and in-app emergency features.

The transport platform aims to begin operating in the UK within the next month. In February, the company launched in Australia, and now runs in seven cities there, with more than 40,000 drivers registered in the past six months.

Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola, said: “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.

“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.”

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