By Rebekah Mathew
(Reuters) – London’s public transport authority stripped Indian ride-hailing company Ola of its London operating licence, saying that the taxi app was not “fit and proper” to hold one, having put passenger safety at risk.
Bengaluru-based Ola entered the London taxi market in February this year. The market is dominated by rivals including Uber <UBER.N>, Freenow and Bolt, and traditional black cab drivers who previously blocked streets in protest at what they see as a threat to their livelihoods.
Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement that it refused to grant Ola, a Softbank-backed <9984.T> operator, a new London private hire vehicle (PHV) operator’s licence as it “cannot find it fit and proper to hold one after discovering a number of failures that could have risked public safety.”
TfL’s decision came days after Uber won a legal bid to restore its London operating licence, which was taken away over safety concerns, after a judge ruled that the company was a fit and proper operator despite “historical failings”.
TfL said it had discovered a number of failures in Ola’s operations, including breaches of its licensing regime, which led to unlicensed drivers and vehicles undertaking more than 1,000 passenger trips on the platform’s behalf.
Ola was also accused of failing to notify Tfl of the breaches when they were first identified.
“Ola can continue to operate pending the outcome of any appeal process”, TfL said, adding that Ola had 21 days to appeal against TfL’s decision.
In an emailed statement, Ola said it was 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”, the company said, adding it would continue to operate as normal.
By Jack Stubbs
LONDON (Reuters) – China’s Huawei Technologies has failed to convince British security officials that the security risks of using its products in UK national infrastructure can be adequately managed, according to a government report released on Thursday.
A government-led board that oversees the vetting of Huawei gear in Britain said continued problems with the company’s engineering and security practices meant it could only give “limited assurance” that all risks to UK networks could be sufficiently mitigated long-term.
The board – which includes officials from Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency – said Huawei had only made limited progress addressing issues raised last year and it had no confidence in the company’s ability to complete a previously-announced cybersecurity overhaul.
The findings will increase pressure on Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecoms networking equipment, which has been besieged by repeated rounds of U.S. sanctions and allegations that its products can be used by Beijing for spying.
Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations and said on Thursday the British assessment showed equipment vulnerabilities were not a result of “Chinese state interference.”
“The report acknowledges that while our software transformation process is in its infancy, we have made some progress in improving our software engineering capabilities,” a company spokesman said.
After initially granting Huawei a limited role in the UK’s 5G infrastructure, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed that decision in July, ordering all of the company’s equipment to be purged from national networks by the end of 2027.
The reason given for the about-turn was the impact of new U.S. restrictions on chip technology, which Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) told ministers meant Huawei was no longer a reliable equipment supplier.
Officials said the latest report, which is produced annually as part of the government’s procedure for vetting Huawei equipment