Indian ride-sharing platform Ola lands in Sydney, offers free rides

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Sydney Traffic
Morning rush hour traffic crawls along a freeway in western Sydney December 15, 2008. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

The number one ridesharing service in India launched on Monday in Sydney after a successful launch in Perth. Ola is reportedly offering customers their first three rides for free.

The $9 billion business is backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent and Japanese multinational Softbank. Ola’s head of international Chandra Nath said they are pleased with how Ola has been received by customers, driver-partners and the Perth community.

Ola landed into the Australian market and offered a generous incentive strategy for users and drivers alike. Nath said they could not wait to continue building on these experiences and learnings in Sydney.

Business Insider reports Ola offering three free rides in Sydney, worth up to $25 each, for people who download the app and sign up. It also launches with a 50 percent discount on additional rides after the promotional period.

“We know that a happy driver means a happy rider,” Wolf Aron, head of operations for Ola in Australia, told Broadsheet. adding that the company stands out because of its dedication to the wellbeing of its drivers.

The number of drivers registered with the service has nearly doubled to 7,000 in the last three weeks. Its launch in Perth and Sydney comes at a time when ridesharing has been legalised across the country. State governments implement a number of compensation schemes for the taxi industry, which involve a surcharge on all rides.

The Indian ridesharing giant was founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2011. It is similar to Uber and Taxify in how it connects users to a number of transport options. With Ola, rides can be taken to and from Sydney Airport like Uber. The following documents are required to sign up as a driver-partner with Ola:

  • NSW: Current New South Wales driver’s licence, with a Passenger Transport license code (PTLC)
  • Proof of vehicle registration
  • NSW driving record
  • Vehicle insurance policy, must cover for third party properties
  • Current annual certificate of roadworthiness from an Authorised Inspection Scheme station
  • Drivers must have their full license for 12 months.
  • Cars cannot be a model older than 2010.

This article has been updated to reflect information about correct documents needed to sign up as a driver-partner with Ola.