Uber rival Ola receives London ban

Tyrone Stewart

Just days after Uber was handed a new London license after a successful appeal, one of its ride-hailing rivals has been told that its license will not be renewed in the UK capital. Ola, a SoftBank-backed service founded in India, has been deemed not “fit and proper” by Transport for London (TfL) over public safety risks.

Ola only made its debut in London in February 2020 after being granted a 15-month private hire vehicle (PHV) operator’s license in July 2019.

However, according to TfL, public safety failings were uncovered in relation to unlicensed drivers taking more than 1,000 passenger trips on the platform. TfL alleges that it was not made aware of these breaches when Ola first identified them.

“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,” said Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging.

As you would expect, Ola will be appealing TfL’s decision in the hope of reaching a similar outcome as Uber. The service will be able to continue operating as normal during the appeals process.

“At Ola, our core principle is to work closely, collaboratively and transparently with regulators such as TfL,” said Marc Rozendal, UK Managing Director at Ola, in a statement. “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.”