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Uber rival Ola to launch in London

By Ramla Soni

Ola which already has operations in the UK was awarded a licence by TfL in July this year

Ola, an Indian ride-hailing service similar to Uber, has started to sign up London drivers ahead of plans to launch its passenger services in the capital in the “coming weeks", the company said.

The news follows the loss of Uber’s licence in London after Transport for London (TfL) said it had safety concerns over the app earlier this week, Ola said it has had “constructive conversations” with local authorities “assuring” 50,000 licenced drivers that they can continue to provide mobility services in the city.

Uber initially lost its UK licence in 2017, but has been granted two extensions, with the latest expiring at the end of November 2019. The car sharing firm is appealing, and can continue to operate during the process. TFL has said it will not grant a further licence, because it does not believe that Uber is a “fit and proper” licence holder, a decision that Uber says is “extraordinary and wrong”.

Ola already has operations in the UK , serving over seven million users across nine cities.

It launched in Cardiff in August last year and has since expanded across the country with the service also now available in Birmingham, Liverpool, Exeter, Reading, Bristol, Bath, Coventry and Warwick.

Ola’s service is available in 250+ cities around the world, in India, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. In Australia and New Zealand, Ola has passed all regulatory audits so far, adhering to safety standards that are similar to those of TfL.

TfL awarded a licence to Ola in July this year.

The company was founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in India with a mission to “build mobility for a billion people".

FURTHER READING: Uber launches loyalty programme for UK drivers

FURTHER READING: Uber announces safety tools to secure London licence

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