This move is the first serious challenge in the United Kingdom to market-leading taxi-hailing app Uber, which was founded two years earlier than Ola, has three million drivers and operates in 600 cities in 65 countries.
Ola, one of India's ride-hailing giants, has confirmed it is set to launch in Cardiff and Newport in the coming weeks, having obtained licences for the areas.
After Ola's lead investor, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, became the largest investor in Uber following a large secondary share purchase previous year, speculations were rife that Uber could eventually merge its India operations with Ola.More news: Papa John’s Sales Fall Again
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.
Like Uber, Ola operates a ride-hailing service through an app and relies on the availability of contracted drivers.
After years spent fighting Uber on its home ground in India, Ola is taking the fight into its rival's core markets.More news: Bangladesh Protests Continue for 9th Day
Ola's launch means its biggest investor is effectively going to war with itself in the UK.
The streets of South Wales may seem a long way from the heat and hustle of Mumbai or Dehli, but Indian Uber rival Ola Cabs is hoping it can bridge the distance between the two. It last raised Dollars 1.1 billion in fresh funding from China's Tencent Holdings and existing investor SoftBank Group.
Like every similar service, Ola has come in for criticism for the way it treats drivers in terms of pay and their employment status.More news: Brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 on sale for $520
Ola further said that it will become the only app in the British market to offer services across both private hire vehicles (PHVs) and black cabs. This is a differentiator from Uber, which only offers private hire vehicles. That, of course, could change, and whether a driver earns more will also depend on how much Ola decides to charge passengers when it fully launches.