Indian ride-sharing major Ola on Thursday announced that it has begun offering free rides in Australia’s Melbourne city as a soft launch of its services with local driver-partners.
“Customers in Melbourne city can download Ola application, register for an account and book their rides,” the city-based online cab aggregator said in a statement here. The company, however, did not specify how many free rides the passengers can avail, and up to what distance, in Melbourne.
On January 30, Ola announced its foray into the international market to rival US-based Uber. It began its operations in Australia in February starting with Perth and later in Sydney.
“Over the coming months, the rollout of operations in Australia will continue with cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart,” the statement said.
Over 15,000 registrations from local driver-partners across Australia have been received so far, it added. “With a low 7.5 per cent introductory commission rate, driver-partners can earn more money and access it easily.”
Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market. Ola claims to have 125 million users in 110 cities across the country. IANS
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has wrapped up a three-day trip to the South Pacific to reassure vulnerable island nations that Canberra is serious about tackling climate change.
Morrison told Pacific Island leaders that Australia would meet its international obligations to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris climate change agreement.
Many low-lying communities fear that rising sea levels will force them from their homes. In Samoa, coastal villages are already making plans to relocate to higher ground in the nation’s volcanic interior.
Morrison’s three-day trip to Vanuatu and Fiji has been described by foreign policy experts as mostly a success.
Coal a sticking point
But climate change remains a source of friction between Australia and its smaller neighbors. Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama criticized Canberra for not doing more to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the economy’s reliance on coal. Australia has some of the world’s highest per capita rates of carbon pollution.
Australia is also eager to counter China’s growing strategic influence in the South Pacific, although Morrison insists all countries should work together.
“We are here because we are for the independent sovereignty and prosperity of Vanuatu because they are our Pacific neighbors and family. That is why we are here,” he said. “Our objectives and our motives here, I think, are very transparent to our family and friends here in the Pacific, particularly here in Vanuatu. This question is put to me all the time. I mean, we do not have to choose. We just have to work cooperatively together.”
Australia has also mended a previously fraught relationship with Fiji. Prime Minister Bainimarama is a former commander of the Fijian military who deposed an elected government in 2006. Democracy was restored to Fiji, an archipelago of about 900,000 people, in 2014.