Uber ri­val Ola gears up to ex­pand

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Hasan Chowd­hury

UBER ri­val Ola Cabs is set to race ahead with an ex­pan­sion across the UK as it pre­pares to launch in a string of new cities, de­spite suf­fer­ing a hit from coro­n­avirus.

The taxi start-up, founded in Mum­bai and backed by Ja­panese tech­nol­ogy in­vestor Soft­Bank, will launch in a string of cities across Bri­tain over the next three months, in­clud­ing Manch­ester, Not­ting­ham,

Le­ices­ter and Cam­bridge.

Ola’s ex­pan­sion will add to 26 cities where the company cur­rently of­fers a taxi ser­vice, af­ter start­ing two years ago in Wales with Cardiff and New­port.

It comes at a crit­i­cal time for the firm as bosses strug­gle to move be­yond dam­age wreaked by strict lock­down mea­sures.

Bhav­ish Ag­gar­wal, Ola’s chief ex­ec­u­tive told staff in

May that the company would cut 1,400 jobs – roughly 35pc of its full-time work­force – as re­stric­tions on move­ment to com­bat the spread of coro­n­avirus caused book­ings and in­come to plum­met.

Marc Rozen­dal, UK man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, said he ex­pects de­mand for ser­vices to re­turn to pre-Covid lev­els by the end of the cur­rent quar­ter, giv­ing Ola the con­fi­dence to push ahead with the ex­pan­sion.

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