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UPDATE 2-London transport regulator strips Ola's operating licence over public safety failings

Sun, 4th Oct 2020 20:29

(Changes sourcing, adds statement from Tfl and Ola)

By Rebekah Mathew

Oct 4 (Reuters) - London's public transport authority
stripped Indian ride-hailing company Ola of its London operating
licence, saying that the taxi app was not "fit and proper" to
hold one, having put passenger safety at risk.

Bengaluru-based Ola entered the London taxi market in
February this year. The market is dominated by rivals including
Uber, Freenow and Bolt, and traditional black cab
drivers who previously blocked streets in protest at what they
see as a threat to their livelihoods.

Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement that it
refused to grant Ola, a Softbank-backed operator, a new
London private hire vehicle (PHV) operator's licence as it
"cannot find it fit and proper to hold one after discovering a
number of failures that could have risked public safety."

TfL's decision came days after Uber won a legal bid to
restore its London operating licence, which was taken away over
safety concerns, after a judge ruled that the company was a fit
and proper operator despite "historical failings".

TfL said it had discovered a number of failures in Ola's
operations, including breaches of its licensing regime, which
led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles undertaking more than
1,000 passenger trips on the platform's behalf.

Ola was also accused of failing to notify Tfl of the
breaches when they were first identified.

"Ola can continue to operate pending the outcome of any
appeal process", TfL said, adding that Ola had 21 days to appeal
against TfL's decision.

In an emailed statement, Ola said it was 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", the
company said, adding it would continue to operate as normal.
(Reporting by Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles
Elgood and Peter Cooney)

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