Homegrown ride-hailing app, Ola has been granted a one-year Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) license from the Transport of London, the government body that oversees the cities’ transportation, to operate its services in the city, according to a disclosure made by the department.
The license is valid until 3 October, 2020. Ola confirmed the development to ET.
Ola has been steadily expanding its presence across the UK since its entry into the region in August last year. Presently, Ola operates in 21 boroughs across the UK, with over 10,000 registered drivers.
In September, London decided to cancel Uber’s licence to operate in the city. Global media reports attribute the government’s stance to their lack of responsibility by using lax background checks of the drivers and by failing to report criminal offences by its drivers. However, Uber has managed to overcome the legal challenge and got a 15-month probationary license to operate in London.
ET had earlier reported that Ola has invested about $60 million in running its international operations including Australia, New Zealand and the UK in 15 months. Recently, the cab aggregator moved this entity which runs its UK operations from Singapore to Netherlands.
Ola’s decision to go international is largely led by these markets being higher revenues and lesser cashburn as compared to India. The company also has an inherent cost advantage against its rival Uber on technology – which is run from India as opposed to Uber which is based in San Francisco.
Earlier this week, Ola has raised $11 million from new investors DIG Investment Ab, Deshe Holdings and founders of Dubai-based Jabbar Internet Group as part of its ongoing Series J round. The round, which is expected to be $1 billion, has so far seen $470 million being ploughed into Ola from a diverse set of investors.
Ola is present in about 20 cities internationally including nine in Australia, seven in the UK, and three in New Zealand. The company expects about a third of its topline to be driven by international operations this year, sources said. In comparison, Uber generated about 52% of its gross bookings outside of its home market, the US, in the quarter ended December 2018. It runs operations in more than 60 countries and 400 cities.