Around a week ago, ride-hailing service provider Uber won an appeal it had filed against London transportation regulators so as to continue its operations in London for a further of 18 months. Now, Ola has found itself in the very same situation. As per reliable sources, the Indian ride-hailing startup has not been able to renew its Transport for London ride-hailing license. If reports are to be believed, the refusal for renewal has been attributed to the fact that Ola failed to meet some of TfL’s public safety requirements that circulate specifically around licensing for vehicles and drivers.
As was the case with Uber, Ola has also planned to file an appeal against London transportation regulators. Under TfL’s rules, the company will continue to operate while appealing a decision.
As per sources familiar with the knowledge of the matter, TfL claimed that it discovered numerous failures in Ola’s operations – revolving mainly around the company’s use of unlicensed vehicles and drivers – the vehicles apparently covered over a 1,000 passenger trips. This may have put the safety of the passengers at risk, claimed the Director of licensing, regulation and charging at TfL, Helen Chapman.
Ola’s defense reportedly lies in its claim that the issue is partly technical, meaning, Ola and TfL use varied conventions in its databases so as to track the licensing for vehicles and drivers, and the ride-hailing startup did not see licensing expirations coming through in a timely fashion. TfL believed that the gap between licensed and unlicensed drivers created a rather huge safety issue, and Ola had not been working adequately to fix the same.
Marc Rozendal, Managing Director, Ola UK, has been quoted to state that the company’s core principle is to work in a collaborative and transparent way with regulators like TfL, and that it has been working alongside TfL in the period of review, seeking its advice in order to address whatever issues are raised, in a transparent manner. Ola plans to appeal this decision and operating as usual, providing safe and reliable mobility in London, Rozendal further said.