The India-based ride-hailing app Ola announced its foray in London earlier in February this year. During the time, the cab aggregator also predicted that it will overtake Uber in just a year after launch. Now, it seems that its plans could get delayed as the Transport for London (TfL) has rejected the company’s licence renewal appeal. The news was first reported by Sky News
Ola failed TfL’s public safety requirements
In an official release, TfL states the reason for dismissing Ola’s appeal to renew its operating licence. As per the authority, the ride-hailing app had a “number of failures that had potential public safety consequences.” These failures include breaches in the company’s licensing regime, which apparently enabled unlicenced drivers and vehicles to take over 1,000 passenger trips on behalf of Ola Additionally, Ola failed to report these breaches to TfL when they were first identified.
Silicon Canals reached out to Ola for a comment and Marc Rozendal, Ola’s UK Managing Director, says, “At Ola, our core principle is to work closely, collaboratively and transparently with regulators such as TfL. We have been working with TfL during the review period and have sought to provide assurances and address the issues raised in an open and transparent manner. Ola will take the opportunity to appeal this decision and in doing so, our riders and drivers can rest assured that we will continue to operate as normal, providing safe and reliable mobility for London.”
Will Ola discontinue services in London?
It has not even been a week for Uber, who won its appeal against TfL. And now, Ola is in the same boat, which means it has 21 days to appeal TfL’s decision to not grant a licence, to a magistrates’ court. In the meantime, Ola can continue to operate pending the outcome of any appeal process.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, says, “Our duty as a regulator is to ensure passenger safety. Through our investigations, we discovered that flaws in Ola’s operating model have led to the use of unlicenced drivers and vehicles in more than 1,000 passenger trips, which may have put passenger safety at risk. If they do appeal, Ola can continue to operate and drivers can continue to undertake bookings on behalf of Ola. We will closely scrutinise the company to ensure passengers safety is not compromised.”
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