A rival to Uber is looking for drivers to ramp up its ride-sharing app in Ballarat.
Ola, which started in India in 2011 and now operates in several countries around the world, is now looking to launch in various regional cities across Australia, including Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria.
It is already operating in several major urban areas including all the state capitals apart from Hobart, as well as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Canberra.
In a thinly veiled jibe at Uber, the firm has claimed it takes a lower cut of its fares from the driver.
In a press release announcing its launch to regional cities, the company says it has 75,000 drivers across Australia. It has achieved this, it says "by offering much lower commissions than their largest competitor".
Simon Smith, the managing director of Ola in Australia and New Zealand, says the launch of Ola will bring more choice for rideshare users and drivers in the area.
Uber launched in the city in October 2017.
Last year, Uber drivers carried out stop work in Ballarat, saying that Uber had not paid them everything they were contracted to do.
The Ola app is due to go live to customers in Ballarat later this month. There is no specific date as drivers are being recruited, but a spokesperson said it would definitely be available in the city "before Christmas".
People [in regional areas] are more inclined to keep their spending in the community, rather than give to an overseas conglomerate whose main loyalty is to their shareholdersStephen Armstrong, CEO Ballarat Taxis co-operative
It will include discounts off rides for the first two weeks after sign-up, as well as a lower introductory commission for drivers who join before the end of the year.
Stephen Armstrong, who is the CEO of the Ballarat Taxis co-operative, said the launch was unlikely to affect business for taxi firms in the city.
"It's a different service - it is more competition for Uber than it is for us," he told The Courier.
He said that business dipped by three or four per cent when Uber first launched in Ballarat but had bounced back.
Through his work as President of the Victorian Taxi Association, he said he believed people tend to be more loyal to taxi companies in regional areas than in big cities.
"People are more inclined to keep their spending in the community, rather than give to an overseas conglomerate whose main loyalty is to their shareholders," he said.
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