In a move that would take on Uber in one of its largest markets outside of the Americas, Ola is gearing up to go up against the ride-hailing company in London. The firm has been granted a license to operate in the British capital, CNN reported.
Ola, a Bangalore-based company, is now reportedly seeking out drivers before a London rollout in late summer or early fall. London could provide a large opportunity for Ola, as it is one of five cities around the world that comprise almost a quarter of bookings for Uber, in addition to New York City, São Paulo, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The ride-hailing company purportedly aims to offer discounts when it first comes into the London market, although its fares will be similar to those of Uber in the long haul. Ola will also provide drivers with a larger cut of their trips, a move that could assist with recruitment.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a note last month that the arrival of firms such as Ola could pressure Uber in the short term. However, they pointed out that the firm has grown more sophisticated at contending with the competition. The city of London decided not to renew Uber’s license in 2017 at first, but the company later received permission to operate for 15 months after it appealed.
The city’s rivalry is becoming more intense: Bolt – formerly known as Taxify – came back to London in June. And French startup Kapten, which is backed by Daimler and BMW, has “also been generating buzz,” per the report. As for Ola, the company has been growing in other U.K. cities as well as New Zealand and Australia.
In separate news, Uber has brought real-time information on London’s underground to its app, in addition to other forms of public transportation such as bus, overground, riverboat, train and shuttle. Including public transportation on its app is said to help the ride-hailing company project a more collaborative approach with the city.