Uber London ban: What are the alternatives?

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Uber London ban: What are the alternatives?

November 26, 2019 Syndicated 0

Uber has lost its licence to operate in one of its biggest markets, London. But what does this mean for affordable taxi travel around the British capital?

Regulator Transport for London said it had found breaches by the app-based ride-hailing service that had “placed passenger safety and security at risk”.

Uber will appeal the decision and will be allowed to operate during the appeal process. However, if the appeal is unsuccessful, the firm would effectively be banned from London.

While Uber was the first app-based taxi service to find success in the UK capital, fortunately for passengers in London there are now some alternatives.


Arguably Uber’s biggest rival, Estonian ride-hailing service Bolt was launched in London earlier this year.

Rides start with a £2.50 (Dh11.80) base fee, plus £1.25 (Dh5.90) per mile and £0.15 (Dh0.70) per minute.

Bolt has 30,000 drivers in London in comparison with Uber’s 45,000.

Bolt has more than 30,000 drivers in London. Bolt
Bolt has more than 30,000 drivers in London. Bolt


Founded in France in 2012, Kapten was launched in London this year initially offering passengers a 50 per cent discount on all rides.

Rides begin with a £2.50 (Dh11.80) base fare, plus £1.50 (Dh7.10) per mile and £1.15 (Dh5.40) per minute.

While it may appear that the service is more expensive than other app-based rivals, Kapten says it covers the “congestion charge”, which covers much of London, saving passengers £2 (Dh9.50) a trip


ViaVan is similar to Uber Pool in that passengers can share their rides with other people, making the cost of a taxi much cheaper.

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The firm, founded by start-up Via and Mercedes Benz, was launched in London in 2018.

ViaVan’s prices vary based on how many customers are in the car and how far they travel. Its website says fares can be as low as £3.50 (Dh16.50) in London.

Addison Lee has been running since 1975. Addison Lee Group
Addison Lee has been running since 1975. Addison Lee Group

Addison Lee

Before Uber burst on the scene, Addison Lee was the largest private minicab firm in the UK, having launched in 1975.

The company has recently updated its mobile app to create a passenger experience similar to its newer tech-based rivals.

While fares are usually more expensive and a base rate is not given, Addison Lee allows customers to book in advance and does not raise its prices during surge times.

Black cab

London black cab taxis have protested against Uber. EPA
London black cab taxis have protested against Uber. EPA

The black cab is a London icon. The taxis have been in operation for more than half a century.

The well-unionised black cab drivers have railed against Uber since it launched in London in 2012, lamenting what they see as low standards in Uber drivers. Black cab drivers famously have to pass a series of tests known as “the Knowledge”, learning 320 routes and 25,000 streets in London off by heart.

With a base rate of £2.60 (Dh12.30) and a meter, the cabs are usually more expensive than their newer app-based rivals.

Public transport

London has one of the biggest public transport systems in the world, meaning many Londoners do not have their own cars.

Fares on the London Underground or “The Tube”, as it is known, start from £2.40 (Dh11.30). Passengers can purchase an Oyster card or pay by contactless debit or credit card at the ticket barriers, which is a cheaper option than buying paper tickets at machines.

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Some tube lines run a 24-hour service on a Friday and Saturday night. Alternatively, London’s famous red buses, where prices start from £2.50 (Dh7), run all day and all night.

Updated: November 26, 2019 06:07 PM

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