Ola to take on Uber, Kapten, Bolt, more as it arrives in London’s crowded cab booking market

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Published: January 31, 2020 5:53:00 PM

Ola, which had received an operating license from Transport for London (TfL) earlier last year, had announced the registration of drivers at a time when Uber had reportedly lost its London licence.

The ride-hailing company will offer ‘ride credit’ to initial customers.

Cab-hailing company Ola on Friday said it will launch London operations on February 10, 2020. The launch comes over two months after the company announced registering licensed drivers on its platform in the city. The launch in London will be with more than 20,000 such drivers who will “benefit from six weeks of zero commission and market-leading commission rates thereafter,” Ola said in a statement. The ride-hailing company and Uber-rival, Ola will also offer ‘ride credit’ worth £25 (around Rs 2,300) to customers signing up on the platform in the first week of the launch.

Ola, which had received an operating license from Transport for London (TfL) earlier last year, had announced the registration of drivers at a time when Uber had reportedly lost its London licence as TfL found that over 14,000 Uber trips were driven by drivers that had faked their identity on Uber app. Ola has also stressed on ensuring its drivers as it will “maintain its differentiated focus on drivers, safety and a collaborative approach through its launch in London and beyond. “The company will also “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.” Uber, however, remains operational in London as it had appealed against TfL’s decision in December.

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“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, Ola International. Launched in 2018 in the UK, the Indian unicorn currently operates in 28 local authorities and claims more than 3 million rides so far with over 11,000 drivers already operating on the platform in the country.

Ola cab driver app in the UK saw 36,000 downloads till November 2019 even as there were 6,500 monthly active users in November from around zero in March last year, according to data sourced from SimilarWeb. However, Ola was overtaken by Kapten and Bolt in terms of monthly active users (MAU). While Bolt’s November MAUs stood at a little over 1.5 lakh, Kapten’s MAUs were at 1 lakh while for Ola it was under 1 lakh by a fraction. In terms of downloads, Ola had over 4.57 lakh downloads lagging behind Kapten, which had 5.14 lakh downloads, while Bolt had 7.72 lakh downloads till November.

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