India’s well-known ride-hailing company Ola a strong rival to Uber in the UK faces a major battle from London’s transport regulator.
Launched in London in February, Ola got a major halt from Transport for London, as it finds company, “unfit and not proper”, risking public safety, resulting in holding of its license.
On launch, Ola claimed that it would “focus on drivers, safety and a collaborative approach”.
TFL in all these months scanned the overall process of riding in London. It found that the company has potential public safety consequences. These included historical breach of the license regime leading to unlicensed drivers giving rides to more than 1,000 passenger trips on behalf of Ola.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging, said: “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 unlicensed drivers and vehicles in more than 1,000 passenger trips, which may have put passenger safety at risk.”
He further said, “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.”
However, TfL said that applicants is capable of appealing against the decision of not granting the license to magistrates within 21 days. This will also allow Ola to continue to operate until the outcome.
Responding to this TFL decision, Marc Rozendal, Ola’s UK MD said, “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 openly and transparently.”
Further on deciding to appeal for the claim, Marc said, “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.”
This holding of Ola licence comes after Uber was granted 18-month licence weeks before to operate in London. The decision to hold the licence is a significant blow for Ola, which earlier this year to have 25,000 drivers registered in its London platform serving to other UK cities including Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry and Liverpool.
Ola was founded in 2011 and began its journey in the UK at South Wales in August 2018. Later, it expanded its locations in Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol and Reading. The regulatory granted 15-month licence for operating in London on July 4, 2019, expiring on October 3.
Till date, this Indian company carried out more than 1bn trips globally. Ola successfully raised $3.8 billion funds over the years and has been operating successfully globally after the pandemic effect. In addition to this, Ola has collaborated with on-demand ride service, Gett for Gett customers. However, the position of Ola in the UK market is not secured and is making multiple efforts to renew its license.