Bolt fares in London set to rise before Christmas with drivers now allowed to set their own prices

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The popular minicab app says this will reduce waiting times, lower cancellations and give drivers more stable weekly earnings.

Fares from the minicab app Bolt are expected to rise in London, with the company letting its drivers set their own prices for trips.

The ride-hailing app says this will reduce waiting times and lower cancellations - as drivers will be less likely to cancel bookings if a more profitable one comes along.

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However a source told LondonWorld that fares in the capital are expected to rise with the change, but the company hopes this will end surge pricing.

Bolt hopes the move to give drivers control of its pricing will create a better customer experience, with fewer cancellations and better stability of earnings for drivers over a weekly period.

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Currently many drivers are choosing to accept, then reject trips if a more profitable journey becomes available elsewhere, it said.

Fares are expected to rise for Bolt passengers. Credit: BoltFares are expected to rise for Bolt passengers. Credit: Bolt
Fares are expected to rise for Bolt passengers. Credit: Bolt

Sam Raciti, Bolt’s manager for western Europe said: “Drivers have consistently asked us for the ability to set their own prices so they can ensure a journey is profitable enough before it’s accepted.

“By making these changes we hope to reduce waiting times on the Bolt app and have fewer driver cancellations so customers can get to their destination quickly and safely following increased demand in recent weeks.

“We have built our business around giving drivers total flexibility.

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“These changes are part of that philosophy and will create a better functioning marketplace.”

The scheme is being trialled in several cities, and will be rolled out in London before Christmas.

Bolt, which has 65,000 UK drivers on its books, said it takes between 10% and 20% commission on fares, who currently earn about £20 an hour.

Last week Uber hiked its prices in London by 10% , the first increase the company has made since 2017.

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It said the minimum fare would increase from £5 to £5.50 and the base fare would go up from £2.50 to £2.75.

An Uber spokesperson said: “We’re making these changes to help provide a better rider experience, by signing up more drivers to meet the growing demand.

“We know people rely on Uber to book a safe trip around London and this small fare increase will help reduce wait times.

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“As always riders will get a fare estimate before booking their journey.”

The walk out was over Uber’s failure to implement the Supreme Court ruling to pay waiting time, which the ADCU said makes up around 40% of an Uber driver’s working time.

It also disputed the introduction of fixed-price fares which union bosses claim has led to reduced driver incomes and greater financial risk.

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The union also demanded for Uber to pay all working time including waiting time and respect the Supreme Court ruling and an end to up front pricing.

It also asked for an increase of fares from £1.25 per mile to £2 per mile and for Uber to reduce its commission take from 25% to 15%.

The ADCU demanded an end to unfair dismissals without right of appeal.

Uber has since announced that the company would now pay pension contributions for drivers.

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The company also announced in March that 70,000 drivers will be treated as workers, earning at least the National Living Wage, with paid-for holiday time.

Those eligible will be automatically enrolled into a pension plan.

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