Brum brum Ola has landed in Birmingham! 🚗

Ola, an international taxi app launched in Birmingham last April. As part of their launch promotion, Sian and I visited 3 of our favourite spots in Birmingham on a tuk-tuk ride! We opted to visit Brindley Place, Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter (their operation office is also there). It was my first time riding a tuk-tuk and the experience couldn't have been any more fun! We were having a casual rave and blasting house music on the streets. Anytime is sesh o'clock if you want it to be.

Even though the tuk-tuk and my first taxi ride with Ola were gifted, I continued to use the app for 10 months (and I still do but) I HAVE SOME THINGS TO SAY! So, keep reading to find out all the hot tea and how it compares to Uber.

How is Ola different to Uber?

What sets Ola apart from Uber is that it lets customers book both private hires licenced taxis and black cabs. I believe they also have better benefits and commissions for their local drivers. I would tell you the exact benefits but there's no chance my goldfish memory is going to recall the information from almost a year ago.

They've now implemented a security code feature. When you book a ride, you will now see a 4 digit code and you have to tell it to your driver at the start of the ride. I think this is a really brilliant addition to the app, it makes it more secure for the driver and passenger. I'm surprised that Uber didn't come up with this years ago. I'm sick of ordering Ubers on nights out and having drunk people trying to steal my ride. Even worse when they're so drunk, they attempt to start a fight.

Does Ola rival Uber?

In London, Yes. Ola has now arrived in London and with Uber losing their licence, they can't exactly compete against its counterpart there.

As for Birmingham (I can't say for other cities), I don't think so yet. From what I've seen in my friendship groups, most people just use the free ride and delete the app after. As for those that still use it like me, I have both Ola and Uber on my phone. I don't think people will easily give up Uber as so many people use it for Uber Eats. The new code feature might possibly get people to convert in the future.

Time for the pros and cons~

Please ignore my dirty nails, I promise I do clean them regularly but they also get dirty easily every 10 minutes.


1. Cheaper than Uber (sometimes).

Your first ride is free up to £10 and then you receive £5 off for the following 5 rides. After that, Ola offers regular discount codes going from 25% down to 10% as you become a frequent user.

However, I've found that it isn't always cheaper. During peak timings, even with the 10% off, Ola rides can cost more. I recommend you to have both apps on your phone. I always check the pricing on both before ordering my ride on whichever one. At the end of the day, both apps serve the same purpose, so I'm going to book the cheaper one and save my money for a rainy day.

2. New security code feature. 

As I mentioned before, I love that it provides more security for everyone and prevents rides from been stolen by strangers.


1. Ola removed my referral codes.

I had 3 unused referral discounts (worth £10 each) for getting my friends to download the app and take their first ride. I've tried contacting Ola on all their social channels and email but still have not received a response to this day as to why they have disappeared. Not happy about this at all.

Will I go out of my way to get people to download Ola again? Of course not. But if you would like to use my code to sign up anyway *shameless cheeky plug* its "0PHJE7U". Thank you~ hehe.

2. Lack of drivers around the launch timings.

When Ola launched, I really struggled to book a successful ride for the first few months. There were either only a few drivers or all the drivers in the surrounding area declined to pick me up. In the screenshot below, I have 6 drivers cancelled on me. I was ordering a taxi after a night out in Digbeth. Thank god for Uber otherwise, I wouldn't have gotten home safely that night.

Did Ola take me places? Not really.

3. Only available in a few cities.

The company is expanding to more locations but it's not widely available in the UK. It covers the main cities including Liverpool, Cardiff, Bristol, Bath and Exeter.


That's it for my 10 months of experience using Ola. It's been one hell of a ride (no pun intended). I do like the app, well I liked it for the discount codes. At first, I felt like it was going to be a tough competition for the Indian firm to rival Uber but with its new safety features and investment to keep doing better, I think it will be an even better app that will be able to convert more users. I'm still petty over my referral codes disappearing but I'll continue to use Ola Cabs.

Let me know your experience with taxi apps! And, are you sticking with Uber or switching over to Ola? 

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