India's Uber clone Ola Cabs hails ride out of the international market

Australian drivers given two days' notice, UK and New Zealand services also shuttered

Indian ride-sharing outfit Ola Cabs is shuttering operations in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK as the company shifts focus to its domestic business.

"Our ride-hailing business is growing rapidly, and we remain profitable and segment leaders in India. The future of mobility is electric – not just in personal mobility but also for the ride-hailing business and there is immense opportunity for expansion in India," a spokesperson told media.

"With this clear focus, we've reassessed our priorities and have decided to shut down our overseas ride-hailing business in its current form in the UK, Australia and New Zealand."

Ola customers in Australia began receiving notices on Wednesday stating that the company would discontinue operations as of April 12.

The company reportedly emailed drivers with the same news, adding that all Ola promotional material should be destroyed and removed from vehicles.

Attempts to book cabs via Ola in Australia resulted in error messages revealing that the company doesn't serve the location.

The departure leaves Uber and Didi as dominant ride-hailing players in Australia, where Ola has been a contender since January 2018.

Australia was Ola’s first overseas market. New Zealand followed in September 2018, and the UK in March 2019.

The abrupt departure has sparked concern from the Transport Workers' Union (TWU), which said it was seeking a meeting with the company.

TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine alleged that the industry "is cannibalising itself" through "unchecked supply chain pressure and exploitative competition."

"Ola's exit shows how critical it is to get standards in place to lift pay and make transport gig jobs safe, secure and sustainable," asserted Kaine.

Documents from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission reportedly suggest the Australian venture was a loss-making subsidiary since Ola's parent company paid AU$142 million ($94 million) for shares in the entity.

But within India, where Ola offers a two-wheeled vehicle in addition to its ride-share services, brighter days seem to be coming. The company's mobility revenue reportedly increased by 58 percent year-on-year to INR 2,135 Crore ($259 million) for FY23.

The Reg has asked Ola to comment and will report back should the company respond. ®

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