The London ride-hailing app market is getting more crowded with the launch today of Ola, another rival to market leader Uber, and rivals Bolt and Kapten.
The Indian-backed Ola app is now live in the capital and offers access to more than 25,000 drivers who have signed up to the service.
The Ola platform offers three categories: Comfort, Comfort XL and Exec ride. Ola, which already operates in a number of other UK cities, said it would maintain its “differentiated focus on drivers, safety and a collaborative approach with local authorities and regulators”.
Simon Smith, head of Ola International (pictured) said: “We are thrilled to now be live in London. This is a major milestone for our business and represents the next step in our ambitions to connect people in cities throughout the country. We are proud of the progress Ola has made in the UK and we look forward to building on our success by offering a differentiated service to Londoners, focused on quality, safety and reliability.”
Ola has announced three partnerships with established leaders in their respective fields to raise driver standards across the market. Ola has teamed up with AA DriveTech, Mercer and Pearson in initiatives to ensure high standards of driving skills, and driver customer service and communication.
Ola will use DriveTech’s driving risk assessment to improve the level of driving skills and knowledge of all Ola drivers in London. Each driver has completed a risk assessment and is given complimentary e-learning modules to further accelerate their professional development. On completing these modules they will receive a DriveTech Permit to Drive.
In addition, every Ola driver in London has passed the Versant spoken English test, from education experts Pearson plc, ensuring a high level of communication in English. They have also successfully completed Ola’s Customer Service Test, developed with global selection experts Mercer.
London drivers joining the platform will benefit from six weeks of zero commission and market-leading commission rates thereafter, so they can keep more of their earnings. Ola’s commission commitment ensures drivers always receive the best commission rate in each market.
Ola will continue its collaborative approach with Transport for London and local authorities, as well as its clear focus on safety, drawing on industry-leading and global best practices.
Ola is launching its flagship global safety feature, ‘Guardian’, which uses AI and machine learning to automatically detect irregular vehicle activity, a ‘Start Code’ feature to ensure customers and drivers are correctly matched, 24/7 voice support for riders and drivers, and a cap of six penalty points for drivers on its platform.
To celebrate the launch, Ola’s passengers will receive up to £25 worth of ride vouchers for signing up in the first week after launch.
Ola has expanded rapidly across the UK since its launch last year, operating across 27 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 around 3 million rides with over 11,000 drivers operating on the platform outside London.