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Bolt reveals plans to allow drivers to set their OWN fares

Now Bolt reveals plans to allow drivers to set their OWN fares days after Uber announced 10% price increase

  • Bolt will trial giving drivers  ability to set their own fares within a limit set by firm
  • The firm hopes it will cut down on the number of jobs cancelled by their drivers
  • Drivers have been multi-apping in order to get the best deal and increase profits
  • But it means customers will find a mini-cab, only to then lose it to a better offer
  • Move comes after Uber revealed plans to raise prices in London by 10 per cent 

Ride hailing firm Bolt is planning to allow its drivers to set their own fares in a bid to slash the number of cancelled bookings.

The Estonian start-up, which aims to rival Uber in the mini-cab app market, said it will trial the scheme from this week. 

It comes after Uber last week announced plans to up fares by 10 per cent.

Bolt says it hopes allowing drivers to set fares, within a limit set by the firm, will reduce the number of cancelled bookings because of a process called ‘multi-apping’.

As previously reported by MailOnline, drivers have been running multiple apps, such as Uber, Bolt and FreeNow, at the same time in a bid to find the best fares.

But it means customers are having jobs accepted only to have them cancelled minutes later – ultimately leading to longer wait times. 

Ride hailing firm Bolt is planning to allow its drivers to set their own fares in a bid to slash the number of cancelled bookings. The Estonian start-up, which aims to rival Uber in the mini-cab app market, said it will trial the scheme from this week

Bolt hopes its new scheme will cut down on cancelled trips by allowing drivers to ensure jobs are profitable before accepting.

Analysis: What does the Bolt move mean for customers? 

Drivers hoping to recover money lost during the barren months of last year’s Covid lockdowns have been demanding higher fares from ride-hailing firms such as Uber and Bolt.

They also say that changes to Uber’s own charge, from 20 to 25 per cent, has led to some jobs become unprofitable.

Drivers previously told MailOnline how this has led to an increase in multi-apping – where drivers use multiple ride-hailing apps to search for the best fares.

That has led to an increase in wait times for customers, who are having their jobs cancelled when a driver finds a better offer.

Bolts hopes that by giving drivers the ability to set their own fares, within a limit, it will lead to less cancellations because drivers will be agree a fare they are happy with before accepting the job.

But this could lead to drivers pricing out unprofitable jobs – like short distance journeys that take a long time due to traffic – as drivers set higher prices to try and avoid the job.

On the positive side for customers, more profitable jobs – short quick trips or long but easy journeys – could become cheaper, as drivers bid low to get the business.

Unions meanwhile have accused Bolt’s new scheme of creating a ‘false pretence’ of driver control and will push down prices by incentivising drivers to take lower offers.

They are urging Bolt to set a minimum price rate of £2-per-mile.

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.

‘These changes are part of that philosophy and will create a better functioning marketplace.’

The ability for drivers to choose their own prices will be tested in several UK cities from this week ahead of a planned rollout across the country before Christmas.

Drivers will be able to select their prices within a range, or use Bolt’s standard pricing which varies based on supply and demand.

A feature allowing passengers to select their driver from a list is also being introduced. 

However union bosses are unhappy at the move, because they believe it will drive down prices for drivers.

A spokesperson for the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ACDU) said: ‘Bolt’s new pricing model is a desperate attempt to avoid accountability for worker rights for their workforce by creating a false pretence of driver control in price setting.

‘In reality, Bolt’s work allocation algorithm will quickly profile and prioritise drivers who are prepared to accept ever lower prices for their work allowing Bolt to expand market share at worker’s expense. The ADCU will continue its ongoing court action against Bolt for worker status.

‘This programme also raises serious safety concerns associated with a substantial workload increase as drivers must now assess and bid on work offered whilst out on the road.

‘If Bolt want to proceed with this plan, they must set a price floor of £2.00 per mile and allow drivers to set prices higher that this if they wish. 

‘In London, regulation requires that operators like Bolt provide a price quote before a journey commences. The purpose of this regulation is to give customers certainty and security of a simple pricing model. 

It comes as rival firm Uber (pictured: Library image) increased its prices in London by 10 per cent last week in an attempt to attract more drivers

‘This initiative undermines the regulatory regime and essential consumer protections.’

It comes as rival firm Uber increased its prices in London by 10 per cent last week in an attempt to attract more drivers.

Bolt said it has ‘grown rapidly’ in the UK since launching in London in 2019, due to having commission rates which are lower than those charged by other companies.

It added that it has more than 65,000 drivers and four million customers across 14 English cities.

Uber will raise prices in London by 10 per cent for first time since 2017 and hike peak time airport fares by 25 per cent 

Uber will raise its prices by 10 percent for the first time since 2017 to try to encourage drivers back onto the app.

The taxi company will push ‘peak time’ fares for airport trips up 25 percent, drivers were told on Wednesday evening.

It means Londoners face higher costs for even off-peak daytime journeys because the minimum fare in the capital will rise from £5 to £5.50, the Evening Standard reported. 

And those travelling abroad via Heathrow or Gatwick will be hit by a heavy increase in transport costs, with a 15 percent rise at peak times on top of the 10 percent blanket rise.

Uber will push ‘peak time’ fares for airport trips up 25 percent, drivers were told on Wednesday evening (file image)

The base fare, which is currently £2.50, will be set to £2.75, and the per-minute and per-mile rates will rise by 10 percent.

The last time the taxi app raised its base pricing was 2017.

It comes after ‘thousands’ of drivers quit the ride-hailing app because of an absence of custom during the pandemic.

An Uber Spokesman 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. As always riders will get a fare estimate before booking their journey.’

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