Uber's about to get a new rival in the UK

Uber could be about to get its first serious competition in the UK, as Indian ride-sharing app Ola has announced it will be bringing its service to British shores.

Already established in India and Australia, Ola will offer competition to an Uber service which, up until now, has existed relatively unchallenged outside of the more standard taxi offerings.

Ola says it plans to launch its service in the UK before the end of the year, with South Wales and Manchester having already granted licenses for the firm to operate from September.

Cardiff, Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan will be the first areas where Ola will operate.

According to Reuters, Ola plans to bring its service to more cities and London's famous black cabs, as well as adding more transport options in the future. If it comes to fruition, it would have a more diverse offering that Uber does in the UK, but it could spur the market leader to follow suit.


From speaking to our TechRadar colleagues in India, there's very little to pick between the two services - however Ola was first to bring Ola Bike, Auto Rikshaws and car pooling to India, but Uber quickly caught up.

Whether Uber and Ola will see fit to bring a motorbike option to the UK remains to be seen, but given the lack of such a service here already it might be a tougher sell to the audience.

In India, Ola also has a membership program called Ola Select, which lets commuters ride without surge pricing, skip booking queues and provides access to "prime" cars at "mini" prices. It also has a Ola Share Pass that saves you even more money on car pooling.

If Ola can bring these features to the UK it will be great news for those who use Uber and ride-sharing apps frequently, by offering more choice and possibly improving the deals for the drivers signed up to either service.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.