Following a successful launch in Perth, India’s number one ridesharing service Ola has launched this morning in Sydney.

Obviously it operates in a similar manner to Uber, but where Ola will be hoping to provide a point of difference is in better driver benefits: 24/7 support from the company, fuel discounts and vehicle-related services, and an introductory 7.5% commission rate for early-adopter drivers. By comparison, Uber takes 20%-25%.

Of course, it remains to be seen if these savings will be passed onto the customers; Perth fare rates are $1/km according to their website, but we imagine surge pricing will also occur. At the moment, they are giving away free rides to those who sign up now, which is always a good thing.

We spoke to Wolf Aron, Head of Operations – Australia, this afternoon to see how things are going.

Uber have a huge head start in Sydney. How aggressively will you be launching, and how do you plan to convert drivers and customers to your service?

To celebrate our launch we are offering Sydneysiders free rides during the promotional period. What we have over our competitors is our commitment to our driver-partners – if you sign up today as a driver-partner you’ll receive a promotional 7.5% commission rate for a month. After that, you’ll then receive a market low 15% commission rate. Our driver-partners receive daily payments and 24×7 support. 

We are looking to roll out of a number of new initiatives like community town-halls, fuel offers and other vehicle services.

You launched this morning. Obviously it’s too soon to tell, but how have things gone so far?

We’re very pleased with the response we’ve had so far from both our customers and driver-partners. Following our launch in Perth a few weeks back, driver-partners have been delighted with the higher earnings – a happy driver means a happy rider. We now have 7,000 driver-partners signed up to Ola nationwide and this number is increasing by the day.

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Download the app here, and happy riding!