The British capital’s regional transport authority – Transport for London (TfL) – has banned the Indian taxi app ‘Ola’ from operating in the city for public safety reasons.
The taxi firm first started operating on London streets in February after breaking into the UK market with a few cars in Cardiff in south Wales two years ago.
Citing amongst other issues over 1,000 road trips by unlicensed drivers behind the wheel, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation, and charging, Helen Chapman, said “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.”
“If they do appeal, Ola can continue to operate and drivers can continue to undertake bookings on behalf of Ola. We will closely scrutinize the company to ensure passengers’ safety is not compromised” Chapman added.
The Indian company in responding to the ban said it will appeal the TfL decision in the next three weeks; regulations permit appeals to be filed within 21 days.
Ola UK Managing Director, Marc Rozendail said “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,” closing “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.”
Just a week ago, Ola’s leading rival in London Uber saw its own appeal against a TfL ruling upheld and the company’s license to operate in the city given the green light after similar safety concerns over unlicensed drivers and almost 15,000 unauthorized rides.