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Indian ride-hailing firm Ola starts operations in Britain

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Indian ride-hailing company Ola began operating in south Wales on Monday ahead of a planned expansion across Britain by the end of the year, intensifying its battle with US rival Uber.

[LONDON] Indian ride-hailing company Ola began operating in south Wales on Monday ahead of a planned expansion across Britain by the end of the year, intensifying its battle with US rival Uber.

Britain is Ola's second venture into a foreign market after it started operations in Australia in February.

Unlike Uber, the company offers customers the option of private hire vehicles and taxis on one platform.

Ola "looks forward to providing passengers with a dynamic, new responsible service," Ben Legg, managing director of Ola UK, said in a statement.

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Legg emphasised Ola's screening processes for drivers and safety features such as 24/7 voice support and an option to share ride details with emergency contacts.

Ola was launched in 2011 and claims to handle around a billion rides a year across India's major centres and seven cities in Australia.

Ride-hailing apps are booming in India despite stiff opposition from traditional taxi firms and some initial concerns about passenger safety.

Ola and Uber are locked in an aggressive fight for a greater share of India's taxi-app market, which is estimated to be worth around US$10 billion.

AFP