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AT COURT TODAY: Ride-hail firm Ola appeals against TfL decision to refuse operator licence renewal

Ride-hailing firm Ola are set to appeal against Transport for London’s (TfL) refusal to renew them a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) operator's licence.

The court case is set to begin this morning at Westminster Magistrates' Court before Deputy Senior District Judge Tan Ikram.

In October 2020 TfL refused to grant Ola a new PHV operator’s licence. The regulator could not find the operator fit and proper to hold one after discovering a number of failures that could have risked public safety.

TfL regulate London's taxi and private hire trades which is designed to ensure passenger safety. As part of licensing conditions, private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate.

Ola has been operating in London since February 2020 and made TfL aware of a number of failures that had potential public safety consequences. These included:

  • Historic breaches of the licensing regime that led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles undertaking more than 1,000 passenger trips on behalf of Ola

  • Failure to draw these breaches to TfL’s attention immediately when they were first identified.

Applicants have a right to appeal a decision not to grant a licence to a magistrates’ court. Ola can continue to operate pending the outcome of any appeal process, which begins today.

Ola officially launched in London in February 2020 following its UK launch in August 2018, and operates in 27 cities in the UK and over 250 globally.

In October 20202 Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing, Regulation and Charging, said: “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.”

Marc Rozendal, Ola’s UK Managing Director, said in October 2020: “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."


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