When it comes to ride-hailing firms, London doesn’t turn out to be the finest of locations. Although Uber has continued to face difficulties operating in that area, it is now OLA, the Indian ride-hailing service, that is taking a hit. Due to passenger safety threats, the London transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), has revoked OLA’s London operating license.
The TfL said that OLA is not ‘fit and necessary’ to hold the licence of a private hire vehicle operator and poses a danger to the safety of passengers. It said in a statement, “After finding a number of deficiencies that could have endangered public safety, we do not find it (OLA) fit and sufficient to keep one.”
According to the TfL, the Indian private taxi company has reportedly made more than 1000 passenger trips carried out by unlicensed drivers and vehicles. In addition, when they were found, OLA was also booked for failing to notify the TfL about these licence violations and failures.
In the London private taxi market, this is not the first such case where a business has not been found ‘fit and proper’. For years now, Uber has been battling TfL’s ban on its operating license, only to find some relief very recently after a court ruled on Uber’s appeal that running its company in London is ‘fit and proper’. It also continued to run, because of the appeal it had raised in 2018, despite Uber’s licence being taken off in 2017.
Likewise, before a decision is taken on the appeal it makes, even OLA has the power to continue operating in the region. The company has 21 days to appeal against the licence prohibition, TfL said.
In a statement to ET, OLA confirmed that during the review period it was working with TfL and “sought to provide assurances and resolve the concerns posed in an open and transparent way.” To appeal this decision, Ola will take the opportunity. In February this year, after going through a slew of strict approvals and tests that London is famous for, the company began operations in the area.
The London licence ban adds to the current strain on OLA on the European continent. Last month, after two private drivers, along with the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), the International Alliance of App-based Transport Employees (IAATW) and Worker Details Exchange, the ride-hailing firm ran into trouble in the Netherlands, filed a case against OLA for denying the rights of drivers to access data and discriminatory algorithmic management on its website.