Whether you’re heading to the UK for a business trip, or just want to try a new way to navigate the sprawling metropolis that is London, here are seven apps to get you from A to B.
Taxiapp UK is a non-profit co-operative owned and operated by black cab drivers themselves. As such it has the best claim to be supporting the traditional industry, and is primarily about combining an old service with the convenience of on-demand – your driver will be using the famed ‘Knowledge’ rather than GPS.
Like bigger ride-hailing players, its free app lets you locate and order a black cab while tracking its progress. It’s also easy to make an advance booking. Payment is through cash, card or the app. All vehicles are wheelchair accessible.
A common sight around the capital and one of its most established taxi brands at 40 years old, Addison Lee has Europe’s largest executive suite. It offers a business account which offers a guaranteed executive vehicle within ten minutes and a portal to help you manage multiple bookings.
Gett is another black cab-hailing app, though not a non-profit like TaxiApp. Its corporate services are available in 135 countries and last year it became the UK’s first ride-hailing app with the option to book exclusively electric taxis, with Gett also incentivising its drivers to invest in electric or hybrid vehicles.
Gett CEO Matteo de Renzi told us that a key selling point for business travellers is the ability to order electric and executive vehicles, or integrate a client’s preferred vendors into the platform.
LONDON LADY CHAUFFEURS
Established in response to concerns about driver behaviour, London Lady Chauffeurs operates 24/7, has vehicles from a Mercedes E-class to a seven-seat MPV, and employs a team of licensed drivers who – you guessed it – are all women. It calls itself “a professional car service for women, driven by women”, and will pick up women and unaccompanied children.
Formerly called Hailo, and subsequently Mytaxi, Free Now is a Europe-wide app operating in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Reading, and claims to have ten million users.
On what sets them apart from rivals such as Uber, a spokesperson said (quote obtained when the firm was still know as Mytaxi):
“The app works solely with licensed taxi drivers who have the best knowledge of the city and access to the bus lanes. Add to this an average two minute wait time in central London and effortless expensing with Concur integration, Mytaxi is the safest and most efficient way to travel around the city.”
Its website and app provide a taxi price-comparison service, which also lets you book and pay in one place (a note of caution – some reviews on the app warn of slow arrival times). Kabbee says its airport rides are cheaper than Uber, though Business Traveller has not yet put that claim to the test. One advantage is a fixed fare, so you won’t have to watch a meter tick up while sitting in traffic or face surge pricing.
*****UPDATE: TfL has today (November 25, 2019) stripped Uber of its London licence, although the firm is set to appeal the decision.*****
Everyone’s heard of great industry-disruptors Uber. Though some complain surge prices are becoming more frequent, Uber is often hard to beat on price and convenience, with around 45,000 drivers working in the capital last year.
Last June it was awarded a 15-month probationary licence after making changes to its safety and security procedures. It had been accused of failing to report alleged crimes or conduct proper background checks on drivers.
Formerly known as Taxify (and then Hopp), the Estonian firm has relaunched in London as Bolt, promising lower fares for passengers and higher take-home pay for drivers.
The company also offers Londoners safety features including an in-app “panic button” for both passengers and drivers. The ‘SOS’ service contacts the Metropolitan Police directly when activated.
Formerly known as Chauffeur-Privé, the French firm rebranded as Kapten earlier this year, and expanded into new markets including Lisbon geneva and London.
The company offers a loyalty programme and rides starting from £5.