Tuesday, 30 January 2018 20:19

Watch out, Uber: Ola hollers hola, promises hella ride-share competition, olé!


Popular Indian ride-sharing platform Ola is revving its engines with a planned entry into Australia in early 2018, and has put out the call for driver-partners in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Hello, what is Ola

Founded in 2011, we're told that Ola "enables smart transportation options to over 125 million users in India, through its network of over one million driver-partners that it hosts across a 110+ cities. On an aggregate basis, Ola serves as many as a billion rides annually, through its platform".

Now Ola is set to enter the Australian ride-sharing ecosystem, promising "a refreshing change" that will provide "both driver-partners and passengers a better way to move".

It's a clear challenge to Uber, GoCatch, Taxify, traditional taxis and hire cars, and even Lyft, which is yet to make its entry into Australia, and hopefully ensures an ever more competitive environment for customers, while promising better treatment for all those "driver-partners".

Ola proudly boasts that its "rapid growth and expansion has been made possible by taking a driver-partner focused approach to ride-sharing – investing in its partners to arm them with the necessary tools, skills and incentives to offer best-in-class transport experiences".

Ola also notes the recognition it has received "for its collaboration with governments and communities to solve local transport issues in innovative and meaningful ways".

So, it should come as no surprise to hear Ola state it will "build on these values as it launches in Australia in early 2018".

From today onwards, Ola says it is "inviting private hire vehicle owners in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth to learn more about driving and registering with Ola" by visiting the part of Ola's site for drivers, here.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Ola's co-founder and chief executive, said: "We are very excited about launching Ola in Australia and see immense potential for the ride-sharing ecosystem which embraces new technology and innovation.

“With a strong focus on driver-partners and the community at large, we aim to create a high-quality and affordable travel experience for citizens and look forward to contributing to a healthy mobility ecosystem in Australia.”

The company says more details will be shared regarding commencement of commercial operations which is subject to necessary regulatory approvals.

More detail on Ola below, please read on after image (turn phone sideways to see full image).

More background on Ola is as follows:

"Founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola is one of the world’s largest ride-sharing companies. Ola integrates city transportation for customers and driver-partners onto a mobile technology platform ensuring convenient, transparent, and quick service fulfilment.

"Ola is focused on leveraging the best of technology and building innovative solutions ground-up, that are relevant at global scale. Notably, in 2016, Ola Play the world’s first connected car platform for ride-sharing was launched, transforming commuting experiences and setting the tone for global innovation in this space.

"Beyond offering a highly personal experience for users during their rides, Ola Play also allows its partners like Microsoft, Apple Music, Sony Liv amongst others, to build a high quality interactive and productive experience for its users. Using the Ola mobile app, users across 110+ cities, can connect with over 1,000,000 driver-partners across cabs, auto-rickshaws, and taxis.

"Driven by a hyperlocal approach, Ola is committed to its mission of building mobility for a billion people."

Finally, in case you're wondering what "hella" means, which I added into my fun headline for even more fun, you can find out here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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