Uber or Bolt: which app should you choose?

Many taxi drivers download ride hailing apps to boost their earnings. But out of the big two, Uber and Bolt, which app should you choose? Taxi Insurer takes a closer look.


While there are many similarities between the two ride-hailing apps there are also plenty of differences. But working out which one is right for you and your taxi firm can be a difficult question to answer.


Something that really isn’t tricky to solve is how to find the right taxi fleet insurance to protect your business. Having the right taxi fleet insurance in place really is a must-have, no matter how many vehicles you’ve got and no matter which ride-hailing app you choose to work with or develop.


Company profiles


Among the many ride-hailing apps operating in the UK today, Uber and Bolt are two of the biggest and best-known. This makes them big rivals – not only for riders but also for drivers.





Since launching in the UK in 2012, Uber has demonstrated why it’s considered to be one of the fastest and most active ride-hailing apps across the globe. And why it’s perhaps the most recognised alternative to the traditional taxi cab.


Designed to revolutionise how drivers connect with riders, make it easier for passengers to find a ride and for drivers to make money, the San Francisco-based technology company has taken the world by storm.


Uber currently operates in over 40 towns and cities across the UK, with over 60,000 registered drivers and an estimated 5 million regular riders. Uber itself calculates that in 2019 alone it added £3.2 billion in value to the UK economy.


The company offers a wide range of services that would suit a wide variety of professional drivers and vehicles. These include:


  • UberX – If you’ve got a great all-round car like a Toyota Corolla then Uber’s flagship service offering quick and affordable rides may be for you.
  • Lux – For drivers with high-end cars capable of offering a premium experience for those attending even the most exclusive of events.
  • UberXL – Big groups need big cars, to drive with UberXL your vehicle will need a minimum of 6 seats and a big boot.
  • UberASSIST and UberACCESS – A specialist service targeted at older riders and those with access needs. UberACCESS in particular will need you to be specifically trained to assist riders when getting into and out of the vehicle. Your vehicle will need to be capable of accommodating folding wheelchairs, walkers and service animals.
  • UberPool – Riders heading in the same direction can now share a ride much more easily. This means more time driving and less time waiting for your next trip request.


As well as driving passengers, you can also deliver with Uber using the UberEats app. Whatever you decide, make sure you have the right taxi fleet insurance to cover your business.




After a failed attempt to get into the UK market back in 2017, Estonian-based Bolt finally arrived on our shores in June 2019. Since then, Bolt has become one of the fastest-growing ride-hailing services in the country.


Despite only arriving here three years ago, Bolt is now Uber’s biggest rival, working with an estimated 65,000 UK drivers. It now operates in 18 cities across the UK including Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Peterborough, Sheffield, Southampton and Wolverhampton.


Depending on the city in which you’re operating, there are a range of ride categories available including Bolt, XL, Comfort, Executive and Luxury. If you have a high-quality car or a large 6-seater then it’s worth exploring these potential categories.


However, despite both companies talking up their expansion plans, there have been anecdotal reports that regular taxi and PHV users have been finding it increasingly difficult to get a ride. With an apparent increase in demand for rides but a decrease in the number of available drivers there is concern that customers might turn back to traditional taxis for a more reliable service.


Read our recent article on whether there is a shortage of taxi drivers for further information. And while you’re at it take a look at our taxi fleet insurance, too.


We can arrange taxi fleet insurance cover for taxi businesses operating all over the UK, from the biggest cities and industrial areas to the very quietest rural idylls. Give the team at Taxi Insurer a call and get started on your journey today.


Driving for Bolt or Uber – which is easier?


Getting started as a driver with either Uber or Bolt is pretty straightforward. They both have easy to follow requirements that drivers need to meet in order to offer their services.




To become an Uber driver, you need to complete the online registration process and have the following:


  • Be at least 21 years old and have proof of identity.
  • A full and valid UK driver's licence.
  • At least three years driving experience. Although this may vary depending on where you’re driving.
  • The right to work in the UK.
  • A suitable smartphone or tablet.
  • A private hire licence.
  • Private hire insurance that allows you to transport passengers for hire and reward.
  • A vehicle that meets Uber’s standards for the UK (for further details see below).
  • A full medical check-up with your GP.
  • A complete enhanced background check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
  • A driver profile photo.


For more detail on the process of becoming an Uber driver, read our Ultimate Go to Guide to Uber.  From how the app works and how to get started, to how much you can earn and how to improve your Uber driver rating, our simple guide has it all.




Driver requirements for Bolt are very similar to Uber. But it’s always wise to check out the Bolt help page to find out if there are specific requirements needed for your area.


For more on the sign-up process for Bolt then read our Taxi Insurer guide to becoming a Bolt driver in the UK. It takes you right the way through from entering your personal information and car details, uploading all the relevant documents, downloading the all-important Bolt Driver app and getting paid!


Vehicle requirements for Uber and Bolt


While both Uber and Bolt want the right people driving for them, they also want the right vehicles to be associated with their brands. So, as well as knowing what driver requirements they have, you’ll also want to know what the vehicle requirements are.




Uber has strict requirements as to the standard of the car you need to drive. Your vehicle must be:



Be aware, if you want to drive for specialist services such as UberXL, Lux and UberACCESS then there might be further vehicle requirements.





As you would expect, Bolt also has its own vehicle requirements. Your vehicle must: 


  • Have no commercial branding.
  • Have 4 doors.
  • Have a minimum of 4 passenger seats.
  • Be in excellent working condition, with no damage.
  • Just as with Uber there will be a maximum age for vehicles depending on the licensing area you choose. For example, Manchester licensing authorities require a maximum vehicle age of 7 years, while those in Bristol say it’s 12 years.
  • Some areas may also set emission requirements for PHVs.


Taxi fleets can be made up of many different makes, models and ages of vehicles. Fortunately, taxi fleet insurance policies arranged by Taxi Insurer are designed to handle such situations. Our policies can cover a broad range of vehicle types such as taxi cabs, people carriers, saloons, hatchbacks, and minibuses.



Which app is safer for drivers and passengers?


Ensuring driver and rider safety are important considerations when weighing up which app offers more. Whether you’re a long-time driver or new to the game, driving a taxi can be a risky business.


Here’s what Uber and Bolt are doing to keep you and your passengers safe. 




Driver and rider verification


Both drivers and riders can easily verify who they are travelling with.


Emergency assistance button


Get help from emergency services quickly with this in-app feature.


24/7 incident support


If something happens at any time of day or night there’ll be someone at Uber who can help.


Follow my Ride


This feature lets you share your trip status with family and friends so they know where you are and when you will arrive at your destination.


2-way ratings


Both drivers and riders can rate the trip. Giving feedback on positive and negative experiences is very important.


Phone anonymisation


You can contact your rider without disclosing your phone number.


GPS tracking


Every ride is tracked from start to finish to ensure everyone’s safety.




Sends out an alert when its sensors and GPS data indicates a possible accident, or if there has been an unexpected long stop. That message would then direct a user to a tool that lets them contact the emergency services.





24/7 incident support


24/7 chat service 


At any time drivers can contact Bolt via phone, app support, or the SOS button and be connected to a dedicated Bolt Safety Specialist.


SOS Button


Hitting the in-app SOS button will send an instant message to a Bolt Safety Specialist who will contact you and call police or other emergency services.


2-way ratings


Providing accurate ratings will mean safer trips for all users, both drivers and riders.


Passenger management procedures


If you’re made to feel disrespected or unsafe by a rider then Bolt has procedures in place to manage that. Depending on the severity of the incident, riders may be suspended and may even be reported to the police.


Static vehicle checks


If a vehicle stops for too long during a journey, a Bolt Safety Specialist will call you and the rider to check in and make sure everything is okay.


In-app anonymous chat


Before a trip you can communicate with a passenger without needing to share your personal phone number.


Bolt has further information on driver safety and passenger safety that’s well worth reading.


Pricing: Uber vs. Bolt


In the world of ride-hailing apps pricing can be a pretty controversial issue. Indeed, both apps recently increased prices in a bid to attract more drivers to their services.


Historically, as Bolt has fought to attract more users its fares have been lower than those of Uber. But recently that has begun to change with Bolt increasing its fares to bring it more into line with rivals.


But remember, prices change regularly and depend on many things such as location and type of service offered. Let’s take a snapshot of current fares in London charged by Uber and Bolt.


Uber fares in London





Per mile

Per minute



























Be aware, Uber charges more than this during peak hours in the Congestion Charge Zone. For more on Uber fares in the UK, Uber has an interesting update for you to refer to.


Bolt fares in London





Per mile

Per minute
































Bolt also uses surge pricing or ‘dynamic pricing’ when demand is increased due to local factors like bad weather, large events and so on.


Earnings and payment for drivers


A big question for any potential driver is how do the earnings and payment structures of the two companies compare? Below is a breakdown of how the payment structure works and how much you could potentially earn.




At Uber there are two ways in which to receive your earnings. The first option is via a weekly automatic direct deposit into your bank account. The second option is to use Flex Pay to cash out your earnings more regularly.


How much do Uber drivers make? Well, this will depend on your location, how many hours you work, and whether you work during busy times when demand is higher than usual. So-called surge pricing can be very lucrative.


Uber has pledged to pay all drivers at least the National Living Wage, after taking into account deductions such as vehicle expenses and congestion zone charges. But you could probably expect to earn around £15 an hour, which equates to an annual salary of around £20,000.


In terms of commission, Uber takes a 25% cut of the majority of every fare via the app. As you will see, that is often seen as a key difference between the two rivals.




Bolt usually pays drivers their share of fares plus any bonuses during the first half of the week. Depending on who you bank with, the money should be in your account within a couple of working days.


In terms of commission charged by Bolt, you’ll pay between 10% to 20% per trip depending on the city and the type of car you drive. For example, drivers of fully electric vehicles in London will currently be charged a 10% commission rate.


So, how much can you hope to make with Bolt? Well, Bolt says the top 20% of its highest earning drivers can earn up to £1,100 per week in London. Working in other cities could also prove profitable with Bolt drivers potentially earning up to £800 or even £1,000 per week.


Which app should you choose?


While Uber has been around for longer and is more established in the UK public consciousness, Bolt is undoubtedly a serious competitor.


With similar driver and vehicle requirements, safety procedures and pricing, the main difference appears to be the lower commission rates charged by Bolt.


Is this enough to woo drivers away from Uber? If you really want to know which one would work best for you and your fleet then it’s probably worth trying them both out.


And if you’re wondering about the type of passengers you might attract with Uber or Bolt then this interesting article from My London is well worth a read. They spoke to two drivers who’ve worked as Black Cab, Uber and Bolt drivers to find out the differences. 


Other ride hailing apps to consider


But it’s not just Uber and Bolt you should be considering, there are plenty of other players in the ride-hailing app market. Riding-hailing apps every taxi driver should know include:


  • Free Now – With over 35,000 drivers in London alone and 1.5 million registered users, Free Now allows users to hire black cabs and PHVs using a single driver-centric app. Useful features include a rate and block passenger function, up to six months of ride and payment history, follow-up jobs, and on the way notifications.
  • Ola – India-based Ola is targeting London and a wide range of cities around the UK. Ola offers daily payments and great bonuses.
  • Via – Great for MPV or minibus drivers.
  • Wheely - Mayfair-based Wheely uses luxurious cars and experienced chauffeurs to target the very high-end London market.
  • Gett – For black cab drivers.
  • Wystle – A recent entrant to the London ride-hailing market.


Protecting your business with taxi fleet insurance from Taxi Insurer


customer paying for a taxi


When you’re trying to navigate the sometimes-bewildering landscape of the modern taxi market, managing a taxi fleet successfully can feel like a big strain. So it’s important to know that the specialist team at Taxi Insurer is always looking for ways to ease the burden.


With insurance cover options to suit all manner of fleets, there’s bound to be one to suit you. Speak to our team today to find out which would offer the best value and protection for your business.


We’ve also added mirror no claims bonus from other insurance policies, cover for different vehicles such as minibuses and MPVs, and a 24-hour claims management service.


To arrange a no-obligation taxi fleet insurance quote, complete the request form and we'll call you back.