Separately, Ola sought to address some of the concerns around ride sharing apps, promising that it would put in place industry-leading passenger safety measures, including drivers screened by Britain's Disclosure and Barring Service, 24/7 voice support, options to share ride details with emergency contacts and in-app emergency features."Ola 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 said in a statement.
Uber saved its London business - at least temporarily - following a court appeal in June after offering a range of incentives including free insurance and limited operating hours for drivers, and a customer helpline and better handling of incidents during rides.
The launch means a major investor in both Ola and Uber, SoftBank, is effectively going to war with itself.
Indian ride-hailing company Ola announced on Tuesday (Aug 7) that it is to launch services in Britain, expanding its foray overseas and intensifying its battle with USA rival Uber.
The company, co-founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2011, has obtained licenses to operate in South Wales and Greater Manchester.
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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. It is hugely popular in its home market of India, where Uber also operates. Ola was reportedly raising $2 billion from SoftBank and other investors last October, and the Japanese firm took a 20% stake in Uber at the beginning of this year. This is a differentiator from Uber, which only offers private hire vehicles.
It is now inviting private hire vehicles (PHV) and metered taxi drivers in Cardiff, Newport and Vale of Glamorgan to register on Ola for a commission rate of 10 percent for PHVs and 5 percent for metered taxis.
Co-founder and chief executive Bhavish Aggrarwal said the firm chose the United Kingdom for its European launch as "one of the world's most evolved transportation markets".