Uber-style taxi firm bids to work in Luton

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A rival of taxi firm Uber is set to throw its hat into the ring in Luton using mobile technology.

Ola UK Private Limited is applying for an operators’ licence in the town this week.

If approved, the firm would use an app-based booking system accessible via your mobile phone.

The Indian-based company would operate out of Capability Green, and is keen to expand in the UK market.

It began the process last August initially targetting South Wales, Bristol and Exeter.

If the company receives a private operators’ licence in Luton it will appoint a day-to day operations manager for adminstration and marketing.

It said in its application to the borough council: “All bookings on our platform are fully automated.”

Both passengers and taxi drivers have to register via the app, so payments are made digitally at the end of a trip, rather than direct to the driver.

It is due to have its application considered by the council’s taxi and private hire panel today (Wednesday).)

As well as the licence to operate, the firm is hoping for an exemption of certain conditions in relation to its use of private hire vehicles.

The local authority has asked for more guarantees that bookings in the town would be ring-fenced, so that only licensed Luton drivers can accept them.

The borough council currently licences 35 taxi operators, 170 hackney carriages and 945 private hire vehicles, according to a report to the panel.

It says there are about 115 hackney carriage drivers, 879 private hire drivers and 365 dual drivers licensed by the local authority.

The dual drivers can drive both private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.