• Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Business

India’s Ola eyes low fares to crack London taxi market

For the first 60 days, Bhavish Aggarwal, 34, founded business will waive commissions and this is expected beat its competitors in the British capital, according to the company (Photo: MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP via Getty Images).

By: Radhakrishna N S

IN A bid to dominate London’s competitive taxi-hailing market, Indian firm Ola is moving ahead with its plans for a price war.

Ola expects that it can snap the business by offering its services at lower prices than other online taxi service providers such as Kapten, Bolt, Uber, and others, who are facing stiff competition in the British capital.

The Softbank-backed South Asian company is expected to benefit from the recent problems of Uber.

In the latest development, the American company submitted an appeal last week against a decision by the London’s transport regulator, Transport for London (TfL), to cancel the taxi app of its right to operate in the British capital.

The latest move by Uber is expected to pave way for a potentially lengthy legal process.

Ola has yet to announce its plans on how much it will charge drivers.

However, for the first 60 days, the company, founded by Bhavish Aggarwal, 34, will waive commissions, which is expected to beat its competitors in the British capital, according to the company.

Simon Smith, managing director at Ola’s operations outside Europe, was quoted by The Times: “In London, we’ll offer drivers the best deals in the market. There will be enough cars so that customers get at least as good a service as they do with the incumbents.”

Ola hopes that it can generate profits in London, despite the stiff competition among the increasing number of taxi-hailing apps.

Smith further added: “As long as we launch aggressively, we’re confident we can get there (break-even) quickly. That is what we’ve seen in other markets. At a significant market share, this industry supports break-even operations.”

Founded in 2010, Ola is India’s one of the best-funded technology businesses. Indian business tycoon Ratan Tata, Softbank, and Tencent have pumped investment into the company.

According to media reports, Ola has raised over $2.6 billion and is valued at about $6.5bn.

The upstart is aiming for a stock market float in 2021.

It operates in more than 250 cities worldwide, including 200 in India and 33 in Australia and New Zealand, and over two million drivers use its platform.

The Indian firm was launched in the UK in 2018 and has over 10,000 drivers in Cardiff, Birmingham, Reading, Exeter, and Coventry.

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