Ola accelerates international expansion, to enter UK market

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Bengaluru | Updated: August 8, 2018 4:46:08 AM

Cab aggregator Ola on Tuesday announced plans to enter the UK after months of planning and building a team in the country. Ola said it has obtained licences to operate in South Wales and Greater Manchester and will launch operations in South Wales within the next month.

Ola, Bengaluru, Black Cabs, UK, LTDA, Private Hire Vehicle, Metered Taxi driversThe Bengaluru-based startup will be offering passengers the option of PHVs and Black Cabs through the platform, which in the future, the company said, will see additional transportation options incorporated. (Reuters)

Cab aggregator Ola on Tuesday announced plans to enter the UK after months of planning and building a team in the country. Ola said it has obtained licences to operate in South Wales and Greater Manchester and will launch operations in South Wales within the next month. The Bengaluru-based startup will be offering passengers the option of PHVs and Black Cabs through the platform, which in the future, the company said, will see additional transportation options incorporated.

A spokesperson said that the company is currently engaged in conversations with transport authority of London and other licencing authorities across the UK. The Indian unicorn’s approach in the UK will partly be modelled from the experience its rival Uber has had in the country, sources familiar with the matter said.

Uber has faced many hurdles in the UK with regulatory authorities and other cabbies. On Monday, London’s iconic black cabs from 13 different cab trade unions in the city, including the 11,000 members strong, Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), are coming together for almost a $650 million lawsuit against Uber for operating unlawfully and intending to cause loses to licensed taxis, according to BBC News. The report said drivers earn an average of £50,000 annually and the LTDA claims that each of its drivers lost £10,000 a year since Uber launched in the city in 2012.

This comes after Uber in late June this year was able to get a 15-month extension for its license to operate in the British capital after having it suspended last year. But Uber will have to face strict regulatory guidelines and auditing in the city, reported Business Insider.
Ola, meanwhile, said it is working with local authorities across the UK to expand nationwide by end of 2018. The country will be the company’s first European market.

The spokesperson added that the company is in the process of finalising the appointment of a managing director who will lead Ola UK and hope to be able to announce this in the next few weeks. According to the company, it will charge commissions of 10% for PHVs and 5% for metered taxis.

Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder & CEO 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. “Starting today Ola is inviting Private Hire Vehicle and Metered Taxi drivers in Cardiff, Newport and Vale of Glamorgan in the UK to register with Ola.

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