Plan Insurance Blog

Bolt Launches London Black Cab Service

London’s iconic black cabs are now available on the Bolt app. The operator has added black cabs as a new vehicle category for consumers to ride in. The firm have in excess of 1.5 million customers in the capital, making it the largest provider to offer black cabs via an app.

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Are They Complementary or Rival Services?

The relationship between private hire apps and the black cab trade remains frosty at best. However, Bolt’s move to combine the two services is not unprecedented. The company will compete with Free Now which have offered London taxis since purchasing dedicated black cab app Hailo.

The ride-hailing app is a leading service provider in many European markets. Visitors to the UK may default to using the app when they arrive. Thus generating fares for cab drivers from both business travelers and tourists that they might not have benefitted from. London cab drivers that sign up will potentially be able to access additional business, especially in quiet periods when they would otherwise be waiting for a journey. The app incentivised drivers to on-board with them before April 30th with the removal of commission for the first six months. Bolt intends to add a £2 booking fee to the metered trip fare.

Whilst Bolt users will also benefit from a 15% discount off their first Black Cab trip up to the value of £10. Josh Ryan is Bolt’s Manager for UK Rides. He stated, “We’re really excited to be creating this category in London, linking drivers into a much bigger passenger pool and offering passengers more choice. We have lots of experience of operating traditional taxi markets so we hope to be able to create a vibrant, mutually beneficial service that offers Londoners another way around in advance of the king’s coronation and warmer months.”

In a communication announcing the Bolt London Black Cab launch to their users the app highlighted how black cabs are “great for speedy trips across the city, moving in groups of up to 5, or when travelling with luggage. A London taxi is one of the best ways to get around and see the sights.” As well as offering, “a unique, enjoyable, and relaxing way to move through the city” some of their favourite reasons to recommend taking a London taxi include them being “bus lane accessible” with “exceptionally knowledgeable drivers” who will have passed “the most challenging taxi test in the world” to drive “one of London’s most recognisable forms of transport!”

“UNIFY LONDON” Launches to Private Hire Rival Ride Hailing Apps

As Bolt begins offering the choice between a private hire vehicle or a black taxi, a new rise hailing app exclusive to London cab drivers has launched. Unify London will only offer its users London black taxis with the aim of raising funds for taxi charities.

London cab driver Micky Harris has long been a volunteer for charities run by his fellow taxi drivers. When his wife Barbara passed away she bequeathed him a significant sum of money. She was passionate about the cab trade and regularly joined its charity trips to the continent for various good causes.

Barbara wanted her legacy to be support for the cab trade and for these charities: The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, The London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children, The Albany Taxi Charity and The Magical Taxi Tour. Micky has subsequently used this unexpected legacy to create the Unify App.

Micky very much hopes it will fulfil Barbara’s wish to see the London cab trade unified. He says the App will not feature “surge pricing” and “hidden fees” instead it will offer “no cancellations, hired from the hail, light off-meter on” and “unlike other Apps the Unify London App will give cab drivers the full metered fare.”

His focus has been on ensuring “the driver received the full metered fare and that the customer is never charged more than the TfL regulated booking fee.” The App is clearly the product of people who care very much for the trade as demonstrated by the fact the trade’s charities will benefit every time it is used. We hope it’s a great success as a fitting tribute to Barbara.

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