As it broadens its competition with Uber, Ola plans to official start operations in London in February after establishing its office in the city in 2019. The Indian ridesharing firm said it would be “fully operational from day one” in the British capital, and it has already signed up more than 20,000 drivers as of November there, according to reports.
Ola International Head Simon Smith said the platform has had an “overwhelming positive” reception as of launching in Britain in 2018. The company has operations in 28 British boroughs, with the inclusion of cities like Coventry, Warwick and Birmingham. It has offered more than 3 million rides to date, with over 11,000 drivers operating on the platform already in Britain.
Smith noted in a statement per reports, “We are working closely with drivers to build a high quality and reliable service for Londoners. Launching in London is a major milestone for us and we are keen to offer a first class experience for all our customers.” The company has notched approximately $3.5 billion in funding to date and provides a host of security features like an emergency button in the app and a 24/7 helpline for clients as well as drivers.
In November, Ola had said it was going to be operational in London “in the coming weeks.” That news came on the heels of competitor Uber’s license revocation in the city by Transport for London (TfL).
Ola is ensuring that it differentiates itself from Uber by being very careful in terms of driver verification and tamping out fraud. The TfL took Uber’s license to operate away after it was discovered that 14,000 trips on the platform came from drivers who faked their identities.
Ola said per past reports that it will have a facial recognition system for “continuous authentication” of its drivers and a “driver image verification against driving licence photographs.”