New Riding Hailing Company To Launch In UK

A new ride hailing company is set to launch in the UK and provide a rival to Uber.

Indian giant Ola has announced the UK will be the third company it operates in, saying it will begin operations in South Wales in September, reports the FT.

Unlike Uber, it will offer private hire and black taxi vehicles.

The company, set up in 2011 by former Microsoft employee Bhavish Aggarwal, already has 125 million customers world wide and is present in India and Australia. It says it is working with local authorities across the UK to expand nationwide by the end of this year.

In its launch statement it stressed its willingness to work with the authorities in a move designed to capitalise on the concerns over Uber and in particular, its safety record which saw it face Transport for London in court last month.

In its statement it says it “seeks to lead the industry with its approach to passenger safety including Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)-screened drivers”.

“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,” it adds.

The company, which launched in Australia at the beginning of 2018 and is now in seven cities, says it plans to move into Greater Manchester next.

But whilst the move may be seen as a blow to Uber, which has been leading the market in ride hailing, others have warned the company may also be a threat to smaller businesses.

Fareed Baloch of which is based in Manchester said, “Another multinational with investors including large national banks does not mean good news for smaller companies and owner – operators who are still trying to operate in a difficult market.”

“Whilst Uber has come under deserved criticism for its operating standards, just because a company says it will comply with regulators does not mean better standards for drivers.

“In terms of prices for passengers and wages for drivers there is very little difference between a monopoly and a duopoly.

“What we are still very much at risk of in the UK is the private hire market becoming like the UK high street: savaged by well financed multinational companies to the detriment of local companies providing a local, trustworthy service.

“People lament the loss of the traditional high street sacrificed at the alter of out of town shopping centres and supermarkets and unless they want another industry dominated by faceless corporates they need to vote with their feet and support local.”

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