A day after Uber lost its commercial licence in London, its Indian rival Ola has started registering drivers as it prepares to launch in the UK capital. Back in July, London’s transport agency granted Ola permission to launch its service in London for 15 months and has to renew in October 2020.
Backed by Softbank!
Backed by Softbank, Ola will join its competitors, including Uber, Bolt, Kapten, and ViaVan in London. The ride-hailing service is already operating in several smaller cities, including Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff, Reading, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, before heading to the capital.
Inviting tens of thousands of drivers!
Apart from the UK, Ola has expanded to Australia and New Zealand as well. To date, Ola has raised around $3.8 billion (approx €3.4 billion) in funding. The Indian ride-hailing app is planning to onboard around 50,000 licensed drivers in London, which is larger than Uber’s current fleet. Drivers can initiate their registration on the Ola app by logging on to their website.
Simon Smith, Ola’s head of international, said in a statement,
We have built a robust mobility platform for London, which is fully compliant with TfL’s (Transport for London’s) high standards. We have had constructive conversations with the authorities, drivers, and local communities in London over the past months, and look forward to contributing towards solving mobility issues in innovative and meaningful ways.
Offers a range of safety features
Moreover, Ola will be using face-recognition technology to authenticate drivers, driver image verification against drivers licence and said it would allow only the licensed drivers on its platform. It also has an in-app emergency button that allows users to alert Ola’s Safety Response Team in the event of any problems with a ride. This feature can also be used to contact emergency services or to instantly share ride information, including real-time car tracking with friends and family
On top of that, Ola added that it would not allow drivers onto its platform who have been blocked by London’s transport regulator. But at the same time, the company mentioned in the press release that drivers are their main focus in terms of operating philosophy, charging favourable commissions to allow drivers to keep more of their earnings. That means that while Ola charges competitive rates for passengers, its drivers earn more from each ride. Giving drivers a fair deal is central to the Ola approach.
Simon Smith, Head of International, Ola added,
Today, we are inviting the tens of thousands of PHV drivers across London to register themselves on the Ola platform, as we prepare to launch in the city in the coming weeks. We have built a robust mobility platform for London which is fully compliant with TfL’s high standards. We have had constructive conversations with the authorities, drivers, and local communities in London over the past months, and look forward to contributing towards solving mobility issues in innovative and meaningful ways.
Back on Monday, Uber stripped of its London licence after identifying the pattern of failures. According to TfL, around 14,000 trips taken recently involved unauthorized drivers who had faked their identity on the Uber app. However, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi expressed disappointment over TfL’s decision and vowed to appeal.
Ola was founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati with a mission to build mobility for a billion people. The Ola app offers mobility solutions by connecting customers to drivers and a wide range of vehicles across various forms of transport, enabling convenience and transparency for hundreds of millions of consumers and over 2 million driver-partners.
Main image credits: Ascannio/Shutterstock
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