London transport regulator strips Ola’s operating licence over public safety failings

OLA Indian ride-hailing

London’s public transport authority stripped Indian ride-hailing firm Ola of its London operating license, stating that the cab app wasn’t “fit and proper” to hold one, having put passenger safety at risk.

Bengaluru-based Ola entered the London cab market in February this year, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The current market is dominated by rivals including Uber Technologies, Freenow and Bolt, and traditional black taxi drivers who previously blocked roads in protest at what they view as a threat to their livelihoods.

TfL’s decision came days after Uber won a legal bid to revive its London operating permit, which was removed over security issues, after a judge ruled the firm was a fit and proper operator despite “historical failings”.

TfL said it had detected a number of failures in Ola’s operations, including breaches of its licensing plan, which led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles project over 1,000 passenger trips on the platform’s behalf.

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Ola was also accused of failing to notify TfL of their breaches if they were first identified.

“Ola can continue to operate pending the outcome of any appeal process”, TfL said, including that Ola needed 21 days to appeal against TfL’s decision.

In an emailed statement, Ola said that it was working with TfL throughout 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”, the company said, adding it would continue to function as normal.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru. Editing by Giles Elgood and Peter Cooney.

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