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Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola, an app-based cab service provider, poses in front of an Ola cab in Mumbai - Image: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola, an app-based cab service provider, poses in front of an Ola cab in Mumbai - Image: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

Trouble for Uber? India’s Huge Ola Ride-Hailing Company is Headed to the UK

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Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola, an app-based cab service provider, poses in front of an Ola cab in Mumbai - Image: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

The largest ride-hailing firm from India is on its way to open up shop in the United Kingdom.

Ola Cabs has obtained the licenses it needs and is prepping to bring its services beyond India.

Top Uber Competition

Uber’s large competitor from India, Ola Cabs, is stepping out of rural India and is moving its rivalry to the United Kingdom. The company is based in Bangalore and said it had received the licenses it needs to operate a ride-hailing firm in South Wales and Manchester.

Ola will roll out in South Wales first. Its predicts that it will have vehicles on the road inside of a month. The goal is to expand throughout the nation by the end of 2018.

“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,” said Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal.

“Constructive Conversations”

According to the ride-hailing firm, it is currently “in constructive conversations” with Transport for London.  Transport for London is the capital city’s primary transportation body. The company also said it was talking to other local authorities throughout the U.K., according to an Ola Cabs spokesperson in a CNNMoney interview.

That said, the London transportation body has not necessarily been easy on ride-hailing companies in the past.  Uber has butted heads with the city’s regulators on several occasions.  That said, it is among the top markets in the world and has tremendous appeal with its 45,000 drivers transporting 3.5 million riders.

Growing Struggle to Stay Open

Uber managed to score the rights to keep its drivers driving in London back in June 2018.  At that time, it gained a 15-month license for its ongoing operation there. This occurred after the company lost its license back in September 2017 when the London transport authority declined the renewal of the company’s previous license.  The issue in the way had to do with Uber’s policies and the concerns the city had with them.

Uber has since altered its business practices and policies within the city, including implementing new limitations regarding the maximum number of hours a driver is allowed to stay behind the wheel before taking a break. It has also issued new insurance policies and is opening a 24/7 helpline.

Ongoing Challenges

After Uber made those changes and established itself thoroughly in the city once again, Ola is now coming to provide competition. Customers will be able to use the app to call vehicles for a drive including its own and the “Black Cabs”, which have been vocal opponents to Uber.

This is Ola’s second country outside India.  The first time it stepped outside its home nation was when it stepped into Australia back in February 2018.  It has managed to expand by 40,000 registered drivers who are now a part of its operations in seven Australian cities.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.