Lately, Apple Central Taxis, one of the car mobility service platforms in Exeter, entered a merger with Z-Cars to fight against the rival, India’s gigantic car mobility platform, Ola Cabs.
Also, Apple Taxis took to Facebook and stated that “Now that we have joined forces with Z-Cars, you shouldn’t have a problem finding us – as we have offices in South Street, St David’s Station and Exeter Airport”. Otherwise, we can always find you – if and when you use our booking app”.
In the same way, Z-Cars Private Hire Taxis took to Facebook and shared a post saying, “We have joined forces with Apple Central Taxis. This will give a perfect service balancing High Tech with history and tradition. We are really looking forward to the future and serving this lovely City of ours together. We really are now an A to Z company or is it Z to A?”
So, will this Apple Taxis and Z-Cars merger have any impact on Ola Cabs? Don’t think so. Well, based on the reputation of the company and the number of credible licensed drivers all over the place in the UK, would definitely give a stiff competition to other competitors in the same line of service.
Now Ola Cabs in the UK too
Back in 2018, the Bengaluru-based startup decided to take a leap to expand its operations beyond India, i.e. in the UK market. Starting with South Wales and Greater Manchester, the company contentedly introduced Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) and Metered Taxis into their working space system.
Along with that, the company also offered a commission rate of 10 per cent for PHV’s and 5 per cent for metered taxis. Best of all, new customers used to get or avail a 50 per cent discount for a certain period.
Benn Legg, Managing Director of Ola Cabs stated, “It is in our DNA to contribute to the local communities in which we operate, and we look forward to working closely with the local authorities across South West England to ensure we deliver the best possible service to all.”
In 2018 itself, Uber rival Ola has captured many countries like Australia, Sydney, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. After that, in March 2019, they took their business one step ahead by stepping their foot in three cities in the UK – Liverpool, Birmingham, and Reading.
Furthermore, the company has also offered decent revenue to the drivers, by charging a trifling commission of 10 per cent from black cab drivers and 15 per cent from PHVs drivers. Compared to the competitors, who charge 25 per cent of commission, the drivers are contended with the amount they get.
“Thanks to the positive word-of-mouth from both driver-partners and passengers who experienced our offerings in Cardiff, Bristol, Bath, and Exeter, we received requests from users across the UK to introduce the Ola platform in their cities”, said Ben Legg, Managing Director of Ola UK in the blog post.
So, finally, with the launch of Ola service in Cardiff in August 2018, Bristol in October 2018 and Bath and Exeter in November 2018, the ride-hailing unicorn has completed launching its operations in 7 cities across the UK in a span of just 7 months.
By looking at the pace of Ola, and the operations across distinct countries, globally, it is presumed that Ola will take over the market of other taxi companies in the coming years.
Uber missed and messed the opportunity
With more than 7+ million users in the UK, the ride-hailing app, Ola Cabs, serves its customers with the utmost security and safety. Additionally, the drivers are licensed with proper driver image verification matching against the photographs on the driving license.
Also, there is Ola support team who provides assistance 24/7 for the users. The company also facilitates the safety of the customers by the introduction of in-app emergency button. This button signals the Ola Safety Response Team about the hassles faced by a customer.
The best part is that you can share real-time tracking information, which helps the support team to locate you instantly for further help.
However, this was not the case with Uber in the UK. With an aim to expand its operations, Uber stepped its foot in London on November 25th, 2019. But, Transport for London (TfL) found some regulations inappropriate with its standards and governance.
They found that nearly 14000 trips were made with duped identities, which is definitely a major concern for the public and on-the-go frequent users, said TfL. The next day after Uber losing its license, Ola Cabs took the opportunity by hiring PHV drivers, who are willing to work in the London location.
Well, this is the third time for Uber losing its license, which doesn’t make sense with what they mentioned in their blog post.
The post stated that “We have introduced new safety features in the app for riders and drivers, introduced free accident and injury protection for drivers, improved our governance and compliance”. But the drivers here are running with fake identities, unregistered and uninsured.
The safety of users is still questionable with improper regulations by Uber. As it’s a customer-oriented business, it’s the company’s sole objective to make sure the drivers are licensed, qualified in driving tests, and insured along with proper identities.
Besides, looking into the operations of Uber since 2016, the company is either selling its stake to other companies or enduring huge losses and failing to do business legitimately as per the country’s law and regulations.
In Q3 17, the company (UBER) reported a loss of @1.5 billion. And now, in 2019, UBER reports stated a net loss of $8.5 billion. Yet, the company is still confident that they can pull out profits by the end of 2020.
Additionally, with the latest gig laws in California, UBER is spending heftily on winning the customers approval. With the loss of license, and $650mn plea unheard in the court, the company is battling hard to stay in the competition.
So, currently, for Uber, it’s like “missed and messed opportunity” to flourish in the emerging markets.
Now its Ola Olalala everywhere
If Apple Taxis and Z-Cars merger needs to fight against the face-pacing Ola Cabs, they need to be creative enough in terms of pricing, technology and offering best services. Lately, Ola has also received its TfL license to operate in London.
“The overwhelmingly positive reception to Ola since launching in the UK in 2018 illustrates the significant demand from drivers, riders and communities. We are working closely with drivers to build a high quality and reliable service for Londoners. Launching in London is a major milestone for us and we are keen to offer a first-class experience for all our customers,” Head of Ola International Simon Smith said.
From February 10th, 2020, Ola Cabs starts its operations in London. “The platform will be fully operational from day one, with over 20,000 drivers having registered on the platform since it began on-boarding a month ago,” Ola said in a statement.
Also, looking at the Ola Cabs revenue statement of FY 19, as per Entrackr, Ola has earned nearly 75% of its income for Commission Income and Convenience fees, which resulted to be Rs 1888.13 cr. Compared to the previous FY, Ola witnesses a thirty-five per cent upsurge of its commission revenue.
Further, compared to the FY18, the overall loss has reduced by 47% in FY19, which is from Rs 2842.3 crores in FY18 to Rs 2593 crores. Not only that, the company also tried its best to decrease the Driver Related Expenses by 27% in FY 19.
As the cab-hailing unicorn expands its operations in several countries, lately, the company also has made several changes by restructuring its payouts to its drivers. The ride-hailing app took a paradigm shift from incentive-based payments to firm or fixed commission payments.
With several categories under its niche, the standard income helps drivers to predict the exact figures they are about to get, which seems a transparent model. Because the government of India is all set up to cap the commissions earned by cab drivers to 10% fare per ride.
So, arguably, taking on Ola Cabs, would be not an easy task for the Apple Taxis – Z-Cars merger, as its operations are present globally. As the revenue statement also seems to be trimming in terms of losses. In addition to that, Uber is in a different league, fighting its battles, settling to stay in the competition. So, looking on a broader scale, Ola will still be the users’ top two preferences for ride-sharing or ride-booking.