What are the alternatives to Uber in London? Freenow, Gett, Kapten and Bolt reviews & discounts

gett taxi review my taxi review

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You may have seen in the news that Uber is currently facing losing its license to operate in London. The license was rejected on the basis that the company is not a “fit and proper” private car hire operator and has not addressed safety concerns. Uber can now appeal and continue to operate during the appeal. In this article, I will look at what each app offers as an alternative to Uber.

In this previous article, I looked at Uber versus Gett Taxi. I have now been using Gett for a while now, including overseas and trying Freenow too. If you have an Amex card, check for offers as they often have special discounts on all the services below.

One thing to bear in mind with the black cab apps is that although they usually cost a bit more they are generally quicker than Uber or ride-sharing apps. This is both in terms of getting one and the journey. They can use bus lanes which can often help make a journey quicker in traffic. 

 

Freenow black cab app

Freenow was formerly known as Hailo and then Mytaxi which you may have used. Freenow works in a very similar way to Gett in that it uses licensed black taxis in London, but it doesn’t do fixed fares. The app is available for iOS and Android in the UK.

Like Uber and Gett you can see your cab’s progress on a live map, see the registration and you can also call your driver. 

Favourite Driver: You can favourite a driver at the end of your journey which makes it more likely they will pick you up again in the future.

Prebook: You can now pre-book your trip with as little as 15 minutes notice or up to 4 days in advance

Pay by app: By credit or debit card. Google and Apple pay are coming soon

Preferences: You can select multi-seat taxi, wheelchair accessible, Eco or put a message for the driver

I tried have Freenow a lot in the last couple of months and apart from the lack of fixed fares, had a better experience than with Gett.  You can still get an estimate of the fare with the app and I didn’t experience the same issues as with Gett when trying to get a taxi during busy periods. The drivers were all very pleasant and professional. The other good thing about Freenow as well as the additional features is that vouchers last much longer, unlike Gett where they usually expire in 2 weeks. With Freenow, the sign-up credit below lasts for 3 months, great if you are only an occasional London taxi user. Whilst Gett sign-ups are often more, you have to use them in a short time.

£5 sign up credit

If you want to try Freenow you can get £5 credit if you sign up using code michele.rob1 

You find more about Freenow here or download the app.

 

Gett Taxi – black cab appGett taxi vs mytaxi review

Gett is an app (Android and iPhone) just like Uber, although it does have much more limited coverage than Uber. It is currently available in 25 UK cities including the cities:

  • Birmingham
  • Coventry
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle

It is also available in New York, Russia and Israel. 

How does it work?

gett taxi

London

There are variations in how the app works in different locations so this review will focus on London.

Gett taxi reviewThe app works in a very similar way to Uber other than you have the option to pay the driver or pay via the app. If you choose to pay via the app you simply add your credit card details to the app and then chose how much tip you want to add by % with the option to leave it at 0%. The advantage compared to Uber is that you can choose to pay a fixed price or pay the meter fare. I usually choose to have a fixed price and only rarely does the meter come to less than the fixed fare.

Using the app is as simple as Uber. The app generally knows your location and enters it automatically but you can change it if you wish. You then can enter your destination and the type of taxi you want with a choice of a normal or XL. You can see a map of where all the Gett drivers are and request a taxi just the same as Uber. Like Uber, you will get the registration number of the taxi in advance and can track the taxi. Drivers are all licensed taxi drivers, unlike Uber’s private drivers.

I have often found it quicker than Uber at off-peak times with wait time no more than 2-3 minutes, several times there was a taxi actually in the rank nearby that responded. However, there is one big drawback I have found. At peak times such as when it rains or morning and evening, it is impossible to get a Gett for a shortish distance. Even though you can see lots of taxis on the map, none will pick up your fare. 

You can prebook for London airports up to 4 weeks in advance which is useful though. 

 

Virgin Upper Class sale

New York

Other features

Gett also offers XL taxis in London which accommodate up t0 6 people. Splitting fares is available via the app as well as a delivery and courier service within London.

You can also rate your driver and in return they rate you, like Uber. This is a welcome addition as one of the reasons I stopped using taxis was some of the unpleasant characters I came across in London. Yes, I could have complained but who is actually going to bother to do that unless you are overcharged?

You can get a discount on your first ride by quoting code GTLWFOX when you sign up.

You can download the app or find more about Gett Taxi here.

 

Bolt

Bolt is a fairly new player and works in almost an identical way to Uber. It claims to be the fastest-growing ride-hailing platform in the world. Currently, they have a service in more than 150+ cities including many in Europe, Africa and a few in Asia and the Americas.

Last night we tested Uber vs Bolt vs Kapten and Bolt was the quickest response time to our location. All Bolt rides in Europe are 100% carbon-neutral. They also claim to be the cheapest ride due to taking a lower commission from drivers. There is also the same choice of cars as Uber with XL and Executive options. 

The ride was just the same as Uber and the driver pleasant and professional. We would use them again.

You can get £8 credit when you use the reference FRTMKD for your first ride. You can find more information about Bolt here or download the app. 

 

Kapten

Kapten is a similar service to Uber and Bolt but with a loyalty scheme (Uber operate loyalty schemes in the US which is due to expand). The company do sadly also have surge pricing like Uber. They aim to get a car to you within 5 minutes anywhere in London. They do offer a guaranteed fixed price for your ride, no matter your route. Kapten have a choice of standard or electric cars. As well as London they operate in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Cannes, London, Lisbon and Porto.

You either use Apple pay when you book or a pre-registered credit or debit card. 

Their loyalty scheme operates as follows:

  • Silver = 2 points per £1 spent and £10 referral
  • Gold = 4 points per £1 spent and £15 referral
  • Platinum = 5 points per £1 spent and £20 referral

When we tried to get a Kapten it offered one within 3 minutes, even though we were well outside central London.

 

You can get a free first ride with Kapten by entering the code MICROB73. You can find out more about Kapten here or download the app

 

 

10 Comments on "What are the alternatives to Uber in London? Freenow, Gett, Kapten and Bolt reviews & discounts"

  1. Mytaxi DOES do fixed fares from Central London to Heathrow if you prebook (£45 or so from me in Vauxhall) BUT the drivers don’t always realise it and often cancel last minute as a result. I had one call me on his way and say he would only do it on the meter. Another arrived and drove off straight away within 10 seconds whilst I was locking the door.

    Uber is so much more reliable.

    • That’s interesting to know John. It’s not something I was aware of. I will add it into the article. Mind you I had some bad experience with Uber at Heathrow recently trying to get one to take me to Heathrow. First one cancelled after 5 minutes and the second one said it was going to be 15 minutes but never actually moved, probably waiting for a more lucrative trip as it was a short trip. There are drawbacks with all of them.

  2. We need users of transport apps to understand the clear distinction between all of the different types ,firstly, Uber is operating illegally.
    Mytaxi and Gett predominately use black cabs, Mytaxi previously Hailo went to the dark side by using Private Hire drivers and Gett DO still use Private Hire.
    Both apps are using the knowledgeable drivers for their corporate investors.
    There is only one ALL licensed London Taxi app and it’s called exactly that, “TAXIAPP UK” founded and funded by drivers.
    No corporate investment that takes from any of its drivers.

  3. I think it’s worth adding- even though this review is service focused- that the black cabs utilised by Gett and MyTaxi and Taxiapp for that matter, all use trained, insured and thoroughly vetted drivers. With daily stories surrounding accidents and assaults all happening in Uber vehicles, it’s a nice little addition to know there’s And extra safeguards in place if you use black cabs

  4. Gett has just (December) made it mandatory to enter a destination address during peak time hours, otherwise you can’t book a ride. That change utterly destroys the whole point of the app, which is to get me a black cab who knows the street address for a destination such as a particular theatre, pub, or club (because cabbies have passed the knowledge and I haven’t). Moreover, in peak hours I use the app on the school run to two schools then to work. Entering multiple destinations is not an option on the updated Gett system.

    This inflexibility is incomprehensible, and I am not aware that the new approach was ever flagged up with users. I shall no longer be using Gett, and will go back to MyTaxi and Uber.

    Congratulations to Gett on destroying what was the best taxi app going.

    • I have almost stopped using Gett as well. They no longer work in New York either as they have a new app which uk residents can’t use! Thanks for the info I will update the app.

  5. We are visiting London from the US in a few days and trying to sort out Christmas day transportation. We have 3 short (5-8 mile) trips to do that day within London. Initially prebooked with Uber which stated it would be around 15 each way. However, after hearing what’s going on with Uber in London, wondering what to do. I tried Gett for prebooking, and it gave me a price of 60 for each of our 3 short trips! yikes! I don’t want to get stranded with no pick up but 180 sounds insane. I’m really confused after reading how drivers don’t show up with various apps.
    Who is the most reliable and fairly priced currently?

    • I usually use mytaxi most of the time. You will find that on Christmas day prices will be extremely high as firms will charge a large premium. You could try a company such as Addison Lee that are an upmarket taxi company and also offer prebooking and an app. Otherwise, the cheapest option would be a minicab company that you can pre book. This website allows you to compare prices and has reviews https://www.taxicode.com/

  6. Christopher east | 2 February 2019 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    Just a few thoughts on the comments made firstly London taxis work out all year at around £4 per mile so the guy saying £60 per trip may mean 8 miles there 8 miles back x3 which changes dynamics of the argument there is only an extra one off payment of £4 on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day also app based minicabs should really be charging at least £2 per mile otherwise you can be sure that the driver is maybe not insured or claiming benefits whilst working which unbelievably is not illegal there are also scams that are now widespread within the minicab apps cancelling then charging the customer for a no show when the customer rebooks the price has rocketed and pretending a customer has soiled the cab to charge £100 cleaning fee and my big bear the drivers have no base to return to so in many cases as soon as the jobs done just park normally near some open space because should they not receive a booking for some time and they are taken short they just defocate in public Heathrow airport had to build a parking area because of this problem also Addison Lee is just another minicab company

  7. Thank You for the update, As Uber Licence is nearly about to renew by end of this year, i have found that Uber rides are only cheap if you are looking to travel from Heathro to Central London and most of the service they offer has a normal Toyota Prius car, If you are planing to travel from Gatwick To London with Uber, it will cost you more than the actual price of the journey. I have recently found an interesting, reliable and cheap app to book airport transfer in London, check cabhit and i believe you will find it perfect for your next London visit.

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