The ride-sharing market across Australia is quickly becoming crowded, as Indian ride-sharing operator Ola’s Melbourne launch today marks the first time both Sydney and Melbourne have had access to three different major ride-sharing operators.
Australia’s two biggest cities now have access to longtime market incumbent Uber, along with newcomers Taxify — which launched in Melbourne earlier this year — and Ola, which announced its Melbourne launch today. To herald the launch, users have been offered two free rides up to $20 each, and then a further 50% off for the promotional period.
But it’s the offering for drivers where Ola tries to set itself apart, taking a commission of just 7.5% during the introductory period and paying drivers each day rather than fortnightly. However, the commission rate will jump back up to 15% after a 30-day promotional period, putting the operator on par with Taxify but lower than Uber’s rate of around 22%.
Having been live in Sydney and Perth already, Ola has already had more than 15,000 drivers register on the platform, and is planning further rollouts in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin, and Hobart.
“We’ve been humbled by the response from customers and driver-partners alike in Perth and Sydney, and are incredibly excited about launching Ola in Melbourne,” Chandra Nath, vice president and head of international at Ola, said in a statement.
“We hope customers and driver-partners continue to share their feedback to help us improve our service, as we continue on our journey to provide Australia with the best ride-share experience possible.”
Ola was founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati and has raised $US3 billion ($3.7 billion) in funding since launch, including capital from big-name investors such as Softbank, Sequoia, and Vanguard. The company has operations in more than 110 cities and boasts 125 million users, but Australia has been the company’s first foray outside of India.
With the launch of new competitors in Australia, Uber has also been looking at rolling out new features to set itself apart, announcing its carpool offering UberPool last month.