20 February 2020

New Ride-Hailing Firm Takes On Uber

Whilst it may be game-uber for one ride-hailing service in London, the city is saying “hola” to another.

Ola is an Indian ridesharing company, founded by businessman Bhavish Aggarwal. The idea began when Bhavish was taking a cab ride, and suddenly the driver stopped to renegotiate prices. When Bhavaish refused to agree, he was left abandoned in the middle of the road. Rather than lament over the issue, he was inspired to create a company that would connect cab drivers to the public.

The firm has already got off to a strong start in the city. Ola has already gained 25,000 drivers registered onto the platform.

Ola began its UK operations back in 2018, beginning with Cardiff. Since then, it has started operating in different parts of the country including Liverpool, Birmingham, Chester and Reading.

Ola makes safety its utmost priority. Once the user requests a ride, the app sends them a start code. Once the driver arrives, they must ask for the code in order for the journey to be activated. A “Safety” icon can be seen also on the top right of the screen; when pressed, a red message appears that asks the user to swipe right when in an emergency, Users also have the option of sharing their journey with contacts, so they will know the location of the vehicle in the event of an emergency.

It also features “Guardian”, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to immediately detect irregular activity.

For its first six weeks of operation, drivers will not be charged commission, as a method to incentivise more drivers to join the company.

Simon Smith, head of Ola international, has said that ever since the company launched in the UK back in 2018, they’ve had “overwhelmingly positive” reception. As of now, Ola has performed over 3,000,000 rides across the country.

The company has also teamed up with the AA, Mercer and Pearson to ensure each driver has the appropriate skills in driving, risk assessment, and customer service.

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