Ola is the largest ride-hailing firm in India, founded in 2011 in Mumbai by two graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Now, Ola arranges more than 1 billion rides each year globally and is operating in over 110 cities.
Uber is still the leading ride-hailing operator with about 4 billion rides annually, but other companies are constantly working their way up the ladder. Except for Uber on the top and Ola on fifth place, Didi (China), Grab (Singapore), Lyft (San Francisco, California), Go Jek (Indonesia), Careem (Dubai) and Gett (Israel) are strong competitors on the global scale.
Ola will be the first company in the UK to offer traditional cabs in addition to ride-hailing trips, all through the same app. However, by entering the UK market, Ola will be up against Uber, Gett and MyTaxi as well as the London firms Kabbee and Addison Lee.
For passenger safety, Ola offers several features like 24/7 customer support and options to share details of the ride with emergency contacts through an emergency alert button. Moreover, they can flag any issues that they might have with the driver directly to Ola through its app.
Ola seems to take safety issues seriously but has already been criticised by politicians for telling women to protect their own safety using the service. Ola published a warning to women on its UK website telling them to have “prudence in offering or accepting a ride”. A spokesperson from Ola said it came from a previous offer they had only in India. A conclusion from this event is that it is not always easy to enter new markets where culture and political view differ.
Written by Ellen Olausson, RISE Viktoria.
1. 2018-08-07. Indian ride-hailing firm Ola to take on Uber with launch in UK.