Indian ride-hailing giant Ola launches in the UK

It will be the only app to offer both private cars and black cabs.

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Uber may not want to get too comfy as it rebuilds its London presence -- it's about to get stiff competition. Indian ride-hailing giant Ola has unveiled plans to launch in the UK. The company is recruiting drivers in Cardiff, Newport and Vale of Glamorgan as of today, and expects to be available "nationwide" by the end of 2018. And unlike some bids to crack the UK market, it promises to both provide a few competitive advantages and avoid regulatory trouble.

To begin with, it will be the only ride-hailing app in the country to offer both private cars and black cabs. Hailo (now absorbed into the London-oriented MyTaxi) tried that a while back, but it eventually focused solely on cabs. Ola is also promising to be more cooperative with local government concerns than rivals like Uber were in the past. It'll offer screened drivers, around-the-clock voice support and in-app emergency features from the start. The firm also claims to have "the industry's leading commissions," taking five percent for taxis and 10 percent for private cars.

This doesn't mean that Ola will go without scrutiny. Drivers in its home country have held strikes over low pay despite assurances of a livable wage, for instance. Ola may have to reassure UK officials that it won't create similar problems with its latest expansion. If it can address potential complaints, however, it may give you a viable alternative if existing options make you uncomfortable.

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