Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal could not have chosen a better time for the attack on Uber in London. He goes on the offensive when his opponent lies on the ground.
The 34-year-old boss of the Indian taxi start-up Ola Cabs has been fighting bitterly for years with Uber for the market leadership in India. Now Aggarwal brings the confrontation with the American competitor to London, one of the most important cities for Uber.
Only on Monday, the local traffic authority TFL, communicated that it does not want to extend Uber’s license. It was earlier reported that more than 14000 trips were taken by drivers from Uber who faked their identity on Uber App. Just one day later Aggarwal had his staff announced that the launch of Ola in London was imminent. While Uber faces litigation to save its most lucrative European business yet, the Indians are starting the preparations to seize the coveted market.
From now on, drivers with a passenger ticket can register with Ola. Alluding to the imminent departure of Uber, the Indian company Ola announced that London’s 50,000 licensed drivers now had the security to continue offering their services in the future.
Within a few weeks, the London commuters will be able to order taxi rides with the Indian service OLA. According to media reports, the start of operation is scheduled for January. The date marks a turnaround in the global competition of car service providers. So far, financially well-equipped Asian competitors have strongly challenged the global market leader Uber, primarily in their home markets such as India , China and Southeast Asia. Now they take the competition for passengers to the Western countries and right at the heart of Uber’s business.
Simon Smith, who leads Ola’s international business, convinced his employer to launch as a kind of anti-uber campaign. Simon stated that OLA has developed a robust mobility platform for London that fully adheres to the high TfL standards and also talked about having constructive discussions with TFL officials.
Ola wants to avoid Uber’s mistake
Uber cannot claim to be completely honest about handling the issue because 14,000 riders were said to have been driving at the wheel, but they were not authorized to do so. Among other things, it was complained that drivers who were actually already excluded from the app, could still work with other user account. This endangers the safety of passengers.
Ola promises the London authorities not to repeat such mistakes. In its application, Ola shared a moral obligation towards the safety of the passengers. The use of facial recognition technology is planned to be used to authenticate the drivers. It is the first time in the transport Industry that such application is put to use. In addition, the photos of the driver are to be verified by their driving license.
Furthermore, Ola promises, without mentioning details, to use robust technological systems to ensure that only drivers who can meet the TFL requirements could work on the platform. Ola is known to work in partnership with governments and local authorities.
London might be a great new market for OLA but the business in the Indian homeland is not running smoothly. At OLA’s headquarters in Bangalore, local authorities imposed a six-month ban on all Ola services earlier this year. Officials had accused the company of violating transport regulations by illegally offering rides on motorcycle taxis.
Ola had to pull all it’s two wheelers out of circulation before the company could come to terms with the authorities on a withdrawal of the lock. In the summer, the officials then declared so-called pool services illegal, in which several passengers with different destinations can share a taxi. The local ban also affected Uber.
However, the new business venture for OLA is something that will get a lot of attention in the next few weeks, especially after the launch of it’s services is London.