25 February 2020

Ola Withdraws From Brighton Before Taking a Single Ride

Back in April 2019, ride-hailing firm Ola were granted a licence to operate vehicles in the Brighton & Hove district. However, before a single ride was taken, the company has decided not to renew its licence.

It was initially awarded a licence to operate in the area for one year. The company first appeared to be very serious about operating in the region. After receiving their licence, Ola opened an office on Queen’s Road, Brighton.

However, there were concerns about a newcomer operating in an area already overwhelmed by rival services such as Uber.

Jackie O’Quinn, who chairs the council’s licensing committee, stated: “The market is too full.”

Ola were due to use Hackney Carriage vehicles, as well as private hire drivers. This would have given the customer the option to choose whichever vehicle they wanted.

Andrew Peters of the GMB Union expressed concerns over this method, reasoning that using both private hire and Hackney cabs would not work efficiently. He cited that Hackney cabs can only charge the local fixed rate, meaning passengers would likely choose the cheaper private hire option.

All licence holders in Brighton & Hove must follow the council’s regulations (named the Blue Book). One of the primary conditions pushed for Ola was that all drivers were licensed for the Brighton & Hove area. Tight restrictions were also proposed to prevent Ola drivers from outside the area from picking up local passengers.

Ola already operates in various different locations across the UK, including Merseyside, Chester, South Wales, Reading, Birmingham and London.

Though the company has currently opted out of renewing its licence for Brighton & Hove, it is possible that they may make a return in the future.

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