Indian based ride-hailing app Ola has agreed in principle with Brighton and Hove licensing authority to allow only a maximum of two jobs within any 24 hour period to drivers who are licensed by other authorities.
Ola, who are looking to operate across the UK, going toe to toe with Uber, made the promise as concerns were raised about the influx of out-of-town drivers which flood areas looking for work.
During a meeting, Councillor Jackie O’Quinn asked questions about the company’s expansion, raising the issue caused by cross border hiring.
She said: “We’ve had very serious problems with TfL when another company was given a licence.
“We were inundated with a lot of drivers which didn’t do a lot for good relations with the local trade.”
O'Quinn said she wanted to support the city's local taxi trade by making sure the restrictions were legally tight enough to prevent future problems.
Ola’s operations director Karl Lutzow promised that once an out-of-town driver had completed two journeys, he would at that point become invisible to the system until they returned to their licensing zone.
Brighton and Hove licensed drivers must all follow the city’s stringent regulations known as the Blue Book and the licensing authority have stressed that they aim to maintain high standards.
Lutzow was also asked if the company would accept a one-year licence rather than five years.
As reported in the Brighton and Hove News, Mr Lutzow asked for any such restriction to start once the company was ready to start operating, as at this stage it has not recruited drivers.
A ten hour maximum shift will also be enforced on the app for all drivers with a four to six hour break between active shifts.
All Ola drivers will be classed as self-employed and must have CCTV installed in all vehicles operating as private hire or Hackney cabs.
Mr Lutzow said: “Ola is looking to build relationships with the unions and work under the same terms and conditions as any of our competitors.”
Representatives of the GMB and Independent Taxi Drivers’ unions observed the meeting.
The panel, which included councillor Carol Theobald, was told if it decided to reject the application, it must show it did not consider Ola a “fit and proper” operator.
Councillors will make their decision on whether to grant an operators licence to Ola within five working days.
Image: Source; Ola Media Centre