There's a new app-based ride-hailing service on London's streets, going under the name of Bolt. The European start-up was formerly called Taxify and offers a service to rival Uber and there's quite a story here.
Taxify was previously available in London, but withdrew from the market following a Transport for London investigation in 2017. The investigation centred around whether (then) Taxify had an operating license for London - and they didn't. Instead they had purchased a company with a license and were using that. Taxify suspended operations in London and now relaunch with a new name - Bolt.
The name is likely to be slightly confusing, with Bolt Mobility - of Usain Bolt fame - due to announce its entrance into the UK in the coming weeks. This could be another thorny issue for Taxify. Dr Sarah Haynes, co-CEO, chairwoman and co-founder of Bolt Mobility, opened the European launch of Bolt Mobility saying that they were looking to take action against those wanting to trade off the Bolt name. Watch this space.
Back to Taxify Bolt and the company promises to offer a cheaper service in London than its rivals, while ensuring that more money heads to the driver. The model seems to be very much the same as Uber - you use the app to get your taxi on demand and pay through the app - but there is a point of differentiation.
Bolt's launch announcement includes that in London you'll get an in-app panic button that will connect you directly to the Metropolitan Police. It's not just passengers that get access to the app, the driver also gets a panic button in case the passengers in the back are getting a bit dodgy. We're not certain that inspires confidence, but it's always good to have The Fuzz on speed-dial.
There's a 50 per cent price reduction to tempt you into Bolt's cars which runs for the first 2 months of the service.
There are two different levels of service offered by Bolt in the UK - Bolt and Bolt Executive. Exactly how those services will differ in London remains to be seen (we're guessing the cars will be a different standard), but the pricing for Executive is quite a bit more.