After starting an agency in the city last year, Indian ride-hailing firm Ola announced it would formally start operations in London on February 10.

Why London?

London is one of the world’s largest markets for ride-hailing services, and the extension is a key growth in Ola’s international strategy as the company broadens its competition with Uber, another SoftBank portfolio firm.

Ola stated that it would be “completely operational from day one” in London, where it has employed more than 20,000 drivers since late November.

The company, which has allocated about $3.5 billion to date, indicated that its program offers a variety of security features, such as a 24/7 helpline for drivers and consumers and an in-app emergency button.

Security is a delicate subject around the world, particularly in the U.K. capital, which might clarify why it took Ola extra months to launch in the city after obtaining the license in July last year and joining the region in 2018.

Faltering to follow the security guidelines in pursuit of competitive expansion, demonstrably took Uber its license in London.

The local governor, TfL, bared Uber of the license — for the second time — late last year later ordering that the American giant did not suffice the “fit and proper” requirements for individual hire operators.

Uber’s taxicabs remain operational in London as the company reviews the decision.

Ola states that it will proceed with its “collaborative process with governors and regional authorities, along with its clear focus on security, drawing on industry-leading and global most suitable practices.”

Ola in london | iTMunch

The Pricing Model

Additionally, Ola states that to incentivize drivers on its program, it will not charge them any fee for six weeks.

The company, similar to Uber, approximately charges between 20% to 25% fee on the final fare given by a passenger, for example.

It is additionally giving £25 worth of ride credit to customers who sign up in the first week following the launch.

Extension into the U.K. capital, one of the world’s most profitable markets, is a significant step for Ola, which has given about 3 million rides in the U.K. to date with much more than 11,000 driver-partners.

Across the years, Ola has further expanded to Australia and New Zealand.

The company declares that it is operational in more than 250 cities.

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