Ride-hailing company Ola, which started registering licenced drivers last month in London for the launch in the “coming weeks”, said it has now more than 10,000 private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers on its platform in three weeks. Ola had announced onboarding drivers last month — around 24 hours after news reports on Uber losing its London licence surfaced as Transport for London (TFL) authority found that over 14,000 Uber trips were driven by drivers that had faked their identity on Uber app. Ola forayed into the UK market in August 2018 to compete with Uber, Kapten, Bolt etc. and is currently present in eight cities in the UK, including Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol etc.
In India, Ola is the largest player by monthly active users (MAUs) and also has a significant lead ahead of Uber for downloads. From around 27 million MAUs in December 2018, Ola had 23.96 million MAUs in November 2019 ahead of Uber which had around 15 million MAUs in December last year and 13.13 million last month, according to the data shared by the market intelligence firm SimilarWeb. With respect to downloads, the monthly figure stood at 67.41 million for Ola while for Uber it was 45.73 million. Comments from Ola and Uber will be updated as and when received.
Ola said it would not be charging a commission from the earnings of the drivers for the first two months after the launch in a “first of its kind” offer, the company said in a statement. Ola onboarded “a large number of these (driver) registrations through referrals and word of mouth amongst drivers, reiterating their trust in the Ola platform,” said Simon Smith, Head of International, Ola. The company claimed around 3 million rides with more than 11,000 Ola drivers excluding London since last year.
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Ola has stressed on ensuring its drivers are regulated with respect to verification of documents, criminal records check, disclosure and barring service (DBS) training and medical examination amongst other TfL requirements, it said. Ola’s arch-rival Uber was earlier too stripped of its licence in London. The UK’s independent trade union that has been speaking for the rights of Uber drivers — Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), had claimed that Uber licence ban would “come as a hammer blow to its 50,000 drivers working under precarious conditions,” The Guardian had quoted James Farrar of IWGB. This likely has given Ola to capture these 50,000 drivers.
Importantly, Ola cab driver app in the UK has been downloaded 36,000 times till November 2019 even as there are 6,500 monthly active users last month from around zero in March this year, showed SimilarWeb data. However, it has been 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 with over 4.57 lakh downloads is currently lagging behind Kapten, which has 5.14 lakh downloads, while Bolt has 7.72 lakh downloads till November, according to the data.