Ride-hailing firm Ola to start in London on Feb 10 with over 20,000 drivers

Topics Ola | SoftBank

Ola said it will maintain its differentiated focus on drivers, safety and a collaborative approach through its launch in London and beyond
Bengaluru-based ride-hailing firm Ola on Friday said it will launch its service in London on February 10, 2020. The platform will be fully operational from day one, with over 20,000 drivers who have registered on the platform since it began onboarding a month ago. The SoftBank-backed company said it aims to offer a differentiated experience on the platform with features such as 24/7 helplines for drivers and customers and an in-app emergency button. The company said it would be providing the best quality of service through its large network of drivers across the city of London.

“The overwhelmingly positive reception to Ola since launching in the UK in 2018 illustrates the significant demand from drivers, riders and communities,” said Simon Smith, Head of Ola International. “We are working closely with drivers to build high quality and reliable service for Londoners. Launching in London is a major milestone for us and we are keen to offer a first-class experience for all our customers.”

Ola said it will maintain its differentiated focus on drivers, safety and a collaborative approach through its launch in London and beyond. Drivers joining the platform will benefit from six weeks of zero commission and market-leading commission rates thereafter. Ola said its commission commitment ensures that drivers always receive the best commission rate in every market that Ola operates in. The company said it will continue its collaborative approach with regulators and local authorities, as well as its clear focus on safety, drawing on industry-leading and global best practices.

Earlier last year, Ola received an operating licence from Transport for London (TfL), the UK Capital’s transport regulator. Late last year Ola’s US-based rival Uber lost its licence to operate in London. TfL had said that Uber will not be given a new licence in London after repeated safety failures. A key issue identified was that a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorised drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts. This allowed them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver, which occurred in at least 14,000 trips - putting passenger safety and security at risk.

Ola has expanded rapidly throughout the United Kingdom (UK) since its launch in 2018 and will now operate across 28 local authorities. Cities including Birmingham, Coventry and Warwick have seen more than double-digit growth in rides in the last quarter. To date, Ola has provided over 3 million rides with more than 11,000 drivers already operating on the platform in the UK.

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