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.

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) Green Tomato Cars
Commission rate 25% 10%-20%** 5%-20%
(based on driver performance)
15% 0%
Pricing Based on distance and duration Based on distance and duration Based on distance and duration Fixed Based on distance and time of day
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
– £0.12/min. for Standard category
– £5 minimum
– £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
– £14.25/hour peak minimum

Mon – Fri:
05:00 – 08:59
16:00 – 18:59
22:00 – 00:59

– £8/hour off-peak rate
– £1.40/mile after minimum up to 25 miles (Executive and MPV all rates higher)
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
N/A
Driver benefits – Sickness insurance
– Maternity and paternity leave
– Gym member pass
– EV assistance
N/A Full-time drivers:
Guaranteed-income plans
N/A Owner drivers:
– Corporate account work only (no pubs and clubs)
Tips Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
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 – Weekly £50 cash bonuses after 20 peak-hour rides
– £100  bonus bookings (2/week, randomly timed)
– £100 feedback bonus for >9/10 driving score after the first 50 rides
– Zero Emission premium for certain EV and PHEV rides
– Bids – see the destination and pricing of available rides, pick the one you want. Daily for morning and afternoon peaks, other times on ad hoc basis due to major demand spikes
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 £2.25 per trip into the CC zone (chargeable hours + 30 mins each side)
Car categories – X
– XL
– Executive
– Lux
– WAV
– Assist
– Pool
– Electric
– Standard
– XL
– Executive
– Electric
– Comfort
– Comfort XL
– Executive
– Electric
– Standard
– Electric
– Classic
– Exec
– Luxury
– People Carrier
– Zero Emission
Area of coverage – Greater London
– Hertfordshire
– Thurrock
– Brentwood
– Luton
– Surrey
– London (the M25 area)
– The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
– Milton Keynes
– Peterborough
– Leicester
– Birmingham
– Newcastle
– Nottingham
– Sheffield
Inside M25 area Zones 1 to 6 Greater London
Airports covered – Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Southend-on-Sea
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
– Heathrow
– Gatwick
– Stansted
– Luton
– London City
Destination trips / day 2 4 2 1 Unlimited
(see ‘Bids’ above, under Bonuses)
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 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BS 3 Fleming Way, Isleworth, TW7 6EU
Drivers’ phone number 08 8169 7334 080 8169 8818 020 3972 0800 N/A 020 8380 8903

* Raised in an EV upgrade fund for drivers of non-electric cars, and instantly available for drivers who already have an EV
** 10% in the case of electric cars for Bolt
*** Temporarily suspended in London

1. 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.

2. Bolt

Owned by Taxify, Bolt joined the rideshare revolution in London with a delay, having waited two years to get their TfL licence 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
  • £1.50 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 growing customer base
  • Second biggest rideshare app
  • Constantly improving app features sometimes lead to instability

3. 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

4. Ola

Ola is a global ridesharing company that launched in London in early 2020. Ola offers both a licenced 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

5. Green Tomato Cars

GTC is London’s greenest on-demand mobility service that is not just carbon-neutral, but carbon-negative with a double offset on all their CO2 emissions.

Pros

  • Corporate account work only – no pubs or clubs
  • Easy-to-use app with support, instant messaging and route finders
  • Flexible – pick and choose the jobs you want
  • £2.25/job Congestion Charge contribution – including if you are exempt!
  • Multiple generous cash bonuses
  • Multiple working options form driving your own car to full employment

Cons

  • More time between trips
  • No surge pricing (but premium minimum fare during peak hours)

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. After two trips within Central London you should have covered your daily Congestion Charge and fuel costs – and that’s if your car isn’t Congestion Charge-exempt! If it is, the £2.25 per trip CC bonus is all extra earnings in your pocket.

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