Comparing the most popular rideshare apps in London

Best rideshare apps comparison London
1000 500 Balazs Szekely

Life as an on-demand driver is all about finding the best time and place to work with the highest efficiency possible so you can maximise your earnings and enjoy a healthy work-life balance. However,

where and when you drive is not all that you can control.

You can also juggle multiple apps to keep downtime to the minimum, or simply drive for the ones that best suit your goals and lifestyle.

At Splend we always encourage our members to sign up to multiple apps. That way you can increase your exposure and thus your chances to receive ride requests at any given time. Relying on more platforms also puts you on stable ground so you have plenty of backup plans in any situation.

COVID-19 update: The rideshare apps mentioned in this article have temporarily stopped signing up new drivers. Keep an eye out for the latest news on the Splend blog and subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you never miss an update.

 

London rideshare app comparison

Check out the comparison table below, courtesy of Driver App London. Click on the table headers to read the pros and cons of the rideshare apps in London:

Uber Bolt Ola Free Now (Kapten) ViaVan**
Commission rate 25%
(20% for drivers signed up before April 2016)
15% 15% 15% 15%
Fares – £2.50 base fare
– £1.25/mile
– £0.15/mile Clean Air fee*
– £0.15/min. for UberX
– £2.50 base fare
– £1.28/mile
– £0.15/min. for Standard category
– £2.50 base fare
– £1.25/mile
– £0.15/min. for Comfort category
– £2.50 base fare
– £1.25/mile
– £0.15/min. for Standard category
– £2.50 base fare
– £1.25/mile
– £0.15/min. for Standard category
Airport fares – £10 base fare
– £1/mile
– £0.12/min. + parking
– £10 base fare
– £1/mile
– £0.12/min. + parking
– £10 base fare
– £1/mile
– £0.12/min. + parking
– £2.50 base fare
– £1.25/mile
– £0.15/min + parking
Guaranteed fares applied + parking fee
Driver benefits – Sickness insurance
– Maternity and paternity leave
– Gym member pass
– EV assistance
N/A Guaranteed-income plans for full-time drivers N/A N/A
Tips Yes No Yes Yes No
Cancellation fee Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
No-show paid Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bonuses Based on consecutive trips Based on consecutive trips Based on a percentage of trips you accept Based on number of trips Based on number of trips
Congestion Charge compensation £1 per trip into the CC zone £1.50 per trip into the CC zone £1 per trip into the CC zone £1 per trip into the CC zone Feature to avoid CC trips
Car categories – X
– XL
– Executive
– Lux
– WAV
– Assist
– Pool
– Standard
– XL
– Executive
– Comfort
– Comfort XL
– Executive
– Standard
– Electric
Standard
Area of coverage – Greater London
– Hertfordshire
– Thurrock
– Brentwood
– Luton
– Surrey
Inside M25 area Inside M25 area Zones 1 to 6 Zones 1 to 5
Airports covered – Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
Destination trips / day 2 4 2 1 N/A
Main address Western Gateway, Royal Docks, London E16 1AA Bolt Hub, 114 Power Road, Chiswick, W4 5PY Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, N1 0QH 51 Hoxton Square, Hackney, London N1 6PB 2-10 Baron St, The Angel, London N1 9LL
Drivers’ phone number 08 8169 7334 080 8169 8818 020 3972 0800 N/A 074 7927 3020

* Raised in an EV upgrade fund for drivers of non-electric cars, and instantly available for drivers who already have an EV
** Temporarily suspended in London

Uber

Uber is the market leader in London as well as the UK. A trusted provider worldwide, the brand has become synonymous with ridesharing over the years.

Pros

  • Large customer base – little downtime between rides
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use app
  • Flexible – pick and choose the jobs you want
  • Cashout option
  • £1 extra for each journey through the Congestion charge zone

Cons

  • Relatively high commission rate
  • The surge pricing feature is sometimes unstable
  • Compliance can be problematic – documents, incident investigation, etc.
  • Strong competition due to large driver base

Tip: If you can’t avoid entering the charging zone, it’s best to aim for more trips in the area to maximise your income. 15 trips within Central London will offset your daily Congestion Charge.

Bolt

Owned by Taxify, Bolt joined the rideshare revolution in London with a delay, having waited two years to get their TfL license under the Hopp moniker. They’ve been offering attractive promotions to boost their driver- and customer base ever since. Bolt now operates within the M25.

Pros

  • Radius feature – only see pickup requests within a certain distance of you (anywhere between 0.6 – 5.3 miles)
  • Pickup lottery – Airport rides are assigned to the driver that can arrive the quickest
  • Attractive commission rate (and 50% off for the first two months)
  • Weekly payout
  • Riders pay a penalty if they keep you waiting at the pickup spot
  • £1 extra for each journey through the Congestion charge zone
  • In-app panic button that connects you directly to the police
  • Giveaways – including cash referral bonuses and even cars
  • Easy, all-online onboarding

Cons

  • Slow periods due to limited customer base
  • Some features in the app can be unstable
  • Reaching support can be difficult
  • Limited earnings compared to more expensive apps

Free Now (Kapten)

Kapten is a French private hire company that launched in London in June 2019, and later announced to rebrand as Free Now. They operate in zones 1-6 and the area surrounding all major airports (London City Airport, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted). They offer fixed pricing, meaning that both riders and drivers know the exact fare before setting off.

An interesting feature of the app is that it allows riders to hire private cars as well as black cabs.

Pros

  • Gift vouchers and a free goodie bag for new riders, and up to £20 extra during peak hours in the initial weeks
  • Referral bonuses
  • £1 extra for each journey through the Congestion charge zone
  • Weekly payouts in three payments – fares, bonuses, and tips
  • Weekly prizes for the highest-rated drivers
  • Coverage for certain cleaning expenses if riders damage your car and you can prove it

Cons

  • Slow periods due to limited customer base
  • Relatively high commission
  • Limited earnings compared to more expensive apps

Ola

Ola is a global ridesharing company that launched in London in early 2020. Ola offers both a licensed taxi and a private hire service, which meant they got off to a strong start having thousands of cab drivers already on board from day one.

In addition to the traditional commission-based business model, they offer two guaranteed-income plans. Here, instead of a commission after each ride, you pay a fixed weekly fee and you get a guaranteed minimum income even if you don’t reach your weekly target. However, these are only suitable for full-time drivers as they require you to drive at least 50 hours per week.

Pros

  • Six weeks of zero charges and decent commission rates onwards
  • Guaranteed-income plans for full-time drivers
  • Daily payouts
  • ‘Go to’ feature to plan your journey home.
  • £1 extra for each journey through the Congestion charge zone

Cons

  • Limited earnings compared to more expensive apps
  • Some features in the app can be unstable

ViaVan (temporarily suspended in London)

ViaVan defines themselves as a tech disruptor that marries the advantages of public transport and private cars. It’s a pool-model, corner to corner service that is similar to Uber Pool, but also offers private rides as a secondary service.

Pros

  • One of the lowest commissions available in London
  • Shared ride bonus for 2 riders or more as well as a Rocket Rate in high-demand hours
  • Blue mode – guaranteed rates paid by the hour (minimum £12-£24 per hour depending on the time of the day/week)
  • You can opt out of Central London trips
  • Growing range of bonuses and promotions (0% commission, guaranteed-earning periods, fixed-amount cash bonuses in peak shifts – For example if you work between 6am and 9am on a Friday, you’ll receive a £30 bonus)
  • 24/7 real-time support
  • Designated drop-off points are easy to find

Cons

  • Central London-focussed – many rides go into the Congestion charge zone
  • Limited earnings compared to more expensive apps

About Splend

Splend is more than a set of wheels. We’ll help steer your career.

In addition to providing you with the most important tool in your career as a rideshare driver, we also offer ongoing training, support, and data-driven feedback via your personal Member Success Representative. You also enjoy a growing array of member benefits including discounts from our partners.

For more information about Splend, drop by our Member Support Centre at 393 Edgware Road Cricklewood, London,  email us, or say hello on 0333 016 4331

AUTHOR

Balazs Szekely

Maker by nature, writer by profession, and a petrolhead at heart, Balazs is our very own content creator who brings Splend’s voice to life. He’s been a wordsmith his entire career, having seen it all from the print media to radio through online publishing and marketing copywriting. He’s fascinated by things he has yet to fully understand such as photography, ice hockey, and the bizarre art of aquascaping. In his free time you may find him mixing up cocktails for his friends or away from home on a city break. Drop him a line at balazs.szekely@splend.com

All stories by: Balazs Szekely