Indian born ride-sharing app Ola has decided that at this present time they are not in a position to continue holding a private hire operating licence in Brighton and Hove and has therefore withdrawn from renewing.
Ola were granted a one year licence in April 2019 under the agreement that drivers licensed by other authorities would be limited to a maximum of two jobs in any one 24 hour period.
The council normally grants a five year licence for an Operator but in this case it only granted a one year licence, due to ongoing concerns surrounding the growth of ride-sharing apps.
Unlike Uber, OLA were due to use both Hackney Carriage taxis and private hire drivers on its Brighton system, with customers having the choice of either.
The Hackney Carriage choice would have had to have been at the local council rates and the PHV choice would be at whatever rate OLA had, plus the surge which cannot be applied to traditional taxis.
OLA, who currently operate in London, Merseyside, Reading, South Wales, and Birmingham, has told the council that it now has no plans to launch in Brighton.
Andrew Peters of the GMB Union aired concerns about the way Ola was hoping to operate in Brighton and Hove, believing that having both PHV’s and Hackneys as a customer choice would not work efficiently because traditional taxis can only charge the local rate, therefore it would be unlikely that passengers would opt for a PHV that is charging two or three times the normal rate.
Although Ola has made the decision to not push forward with a launch in Brighton and Hove, it doesn't mean that they won't be back sometime in the future when they feel fit.
Image credit: Ola Media