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Ola: Ride-sharing firm to launch in London 'within weeks'

Indian ride-sharing firm Ola has begun signing up drivers in London ahead of plans to launch services in the capital "in the coming weeks".

It comes days after rival Uber was denied a new licence to operate in London after repeated safety failures.

Ola, which already operates in the UK, said it has held "constructive conversations" with local authorities.

The Indian firm was granted a licence from Transport for London (TfL) earlier this year.

"We are inviting the tens of thousands of private hire drivers across London to register themselves on the Ola platform, as we prepare to launch in the city in the coming weeks," Ola's Head of International Simon Smith said in a statement.

"We have had constructive conversations with the authorities, drivers, and local communities in London over the past months."

Mr Smith said the company has built a "robust mobility platform for London which is fully compliant with TfL's high standards".

Ola's push into the London capital comes as rival Uber prepares to appeal against TfL's decision to strip the firm of its licence there.

On Monday, the regulator said the taxi app was not "fit and proper" as a licence holder, despite having made a number of positive changes to its operations.

Uber initially lost its licence in 2017 but was granted two extensions, the most recent of which expired this week.

The US ride-share giant said the decision was "extraordinary and wrong". It said it had audited every driver in London over the past two months and strengthened its processes.

UK expansion

In July, Ola got a 15-month agreement for its entry into the London market. It began operating in the UK last year, with services in south Wales.

The Softbank-backed company touted its safety features - including driver facial recognition technology and an in-app emergency button to alert safety response teams - ahead of its London launch.

Ola operates in more than 250 cities across India, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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