Ride-sharing service Ola is now available in Melbourne after launching in Perth in March, and in Sydney soon after. Founded in India in 2011, more than 15,000 drivers now use the platform in Australia.

Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati are the minds behind the global service, favoured by 125 million people in India and more than one million drivers across 110 cities.

To mark its Melbourne launch, Ola is offering new customers two free rides up to the value of $20 each (Sydney riders were offered three free rides). It will also give 50 per cent off further rides taken during an undefined “promotional period”.

If this news sounds familiar, it could be because Ola competitor Taxify arrived in Melbourne less than three months ago, receiving 10,000 registered drivers in the lead up to its launch.

In an effort to attract drivers, Ola will let anybody who has held an Australian driver’s license for at least 12 months with a registered, roadworthy car and third-party insurance drive for the service. By comparison, Uber drivers must be over 21 and have a four-door car less than 10 years old.

Ola is also offering a very competitive introductory rate for Melbourne drivers who sign up by April 15, taking a 7.5 per cent commission per fare for 90 days. After that period the commission jumps to 15 per cent, in line with Taxify. Uber takes 25 per cent.

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In terms of useability, the app is much the same as Uber and Taxify. Riders can select their pick-up and drop-off locations, and save frequent destinations and pick-up locations as favourites.

Like Taxify and Uber, riders will pay a base fare of $2 (or $3.10 for an SUV) with a 55 cent booking fee.

Ola is planning to launch in Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart and on the Gold Coast later this year.

The app can be downloaded on Google Play or the App Store.

Drivers can register here for free.


This article was updated on April 16.