London License is not Renewed for Ola, the Company Vows to Appeal

Just a few days ago, Uber won an appeal to procure and renew its London license to carry out its operational services within the city, at least for the next one and a half years. The court gave its judgment after it was satisfied with the improvements brought about within the organization’s processes. Moreover, talks were also held between Uber and Transport for London(TfL), the authority which had initially declined to renew its license. 

While Uber is undoubtedly happy, it looks like the same is not the case with Ola, its competitor that offers similar ride-hailing operations. According to the latest piece of information, Ola became unsuccessful in getting its London license renewed. The reason – TfL has found some grave issues about how licenses are being checked and provided to the drivers as well as vehicles within the Ola system. TfL considers this a serious safety concern. 

Ola, on the other hand, is looking to file a legal appeal, following the same process as that of Uber. Ola even went on to say that it will continue its operations in London, as long as a decision is reached regarding the appeal. It is as per the TfL procedures. 

The initial reports suggested that TfL came across various loopholes in Ola’s processes, owing to which the former decided against renewing its license. The ride-hailing service was operated by those drivers and vehicles who did not hold a valid license. And shockingly, more than 1000 passenger trips have been carried out in this manner, which poses a serious threat to passenger safety, feels Helen Chapman, the director of licensing, regulations, and charging at TfL. So far, it is unclear if TfL found any other issues with the ride-hailing service other than this one. 

Ola is also leaving no stone unturned when it comes to defending itself. The ride-hailing company plans to argue on the grounds of stating that the complete mixup of licensed and unlicensed drivers and vehicles has occurred owing to a technical glitch. Both Ola and TfL have been using different methodologies within their databases to check the license validations of drivers and vehicles. Owing to the same, Ola was unable to find out the exact license expiration time of drivers and vehicles. TfL believes that this is a serious security lapse; furthermore, it felt that Ola was not making any effort to sort out this mess. 

Ola has decided on how it would be going about filing its appeal against TfL. Marc Rozendal, who is the Managing Director for the UK operations of Ola, went on to state, “At Ola, our core principle is to work closely, collaboratively and transparently with regulators such as TfL. 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.”

Ola has managed to collect about $3.8 billion within its funds during the past few years. With this amount, it plans to increase and expand its businesses to give a tough competition to Uber. Ola has been operating commercially in London since February 2020, during which more than 25,000 drivers registered themselves within the company system, claims Ola. However, until now, there is no information regarding the total number of rides completed by Ola. Also, there are no details of the total number of passengers to date who have opted to travel by Ola. 

Ola has also established tie-ups with Gett, another ride-hailing service, to serve those customers too, whenever necessary. It has also been running within other UK cities, Australia and New Zealand. Currently, owing to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, there is a drastic reduction in travel. However, it is a fact that the UK and London are the best markets for establishing ride-hailing operations. Time and again, Ola has run into trouble when operating within the UK, and it has gotten itself into many legal issues here. 

Image source: Techcrunch

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