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London Taxi apps with further details

Below is a comprehensive list comparing all the apps for taxi’ing around London in 2020. It covers:

It’s hard to keep track of what taxi apps are available in London at the moment, and what’s the difference between them. So, if you were wondering:

  • how to get your pet across London?
  • which apps have the best options for the mobility-impaired?
  • do any apps allow you to set a stop or via point so you can collect a friend?
  • which transport to use for a bit of decadence or to impress your date?
  • how they typically compare in price – are some better for long haul (eg airport trips) versus short trips
  • which ones give you the peace of mind of a fixed fare?
  • are there any which seat 8 people in a trip?
  • which ones allow you to pre-book your ride?
  • are any of them big enough to transport furniture (bed, sofa, etc)?
  • do any reward loyalty?

… then you’re looking at the right article! Answers to the above questions are at the bottom of the page.

General background

Black cabs are traditional and ubiquitous around the centre – but are generally more expensive. However they have some advantages over regular cars/minicabs. They can fit up to 5 people, and have far more luggage space than the newer app-based options – you can even fit 2 bicycles in, at a pinch. Unusually for London, chatting with the driver is the norm – expect opinions. They’re also allowed to use bus lanes – so can be a faster option in heavy traffic. Flag them down if the orange “Taxi” light is on (otherwise, it’s in use). Also available to order via app – details below.

Minicabs in the traditional sense are rarely used now. They used to be local services that you’d telephone, using regular cars – usually much cheaper than black cabs. They’re still around, but most are now available using apps – details below.

Cheap taxi details

Bolt – Formerly known as Taxify and Hopp. Launched 2019. Estonia based company.

Kabbee – Scours prices from 50+ minicab companies around London – ie, it doesn’t operate its own drivers. Prebooking option, fixed fares, no surge, claims to have the best airport fares.

Kapten – Interesting loyalty options – the more you travel with them, the more discounts you get – even a ‘roulette wheel’. French based company, backed by Daimler and BMW.

Ola – Newest one on the London market – started Feb 2020. India based. Says it has a focus on rider safety – automatically detects irregular vehicle activity, and has a ‘Start Code’ to ensure customers and drivers are correctly matched.

Uber – Most famous. Types of car:

  • ‘Pool’ – always one of the cheapest option, if you don’t mind sharing with others and it may take a bit longer as you’ll probably stop and pick people up on the way.
  • ‘Exec’ cars are nicer and newer than normal – there’s a short list of accepted brands like Audi, and they must be under 5 years old (normal is under 12). Should offer ‘superior’ service
  • ‘Lux’ has even nicer cars than Exec – different short list with brands like Rolls – and even more ‘professional’ driver
  • ‘Assist’ drivers have had accessibility training – eg for older folks, or somewhat disabled people who need help using a normal car eg with folding wheelchairs
  • ‘Access’ is fully wheelchair accessible ie can take non folding wheelchairs

ViaVan – Focused on rideshare options, but also allows private bookings. Often unavailable while testing. Interesting pass options, though. £79 for 1 week of up to 4 rides daily in zones 1 and 2; £5 for 10% off pass, £8 for 20% off (both for one week), and £35 for 20% off for 4 weeks. Or you can top up with ‘Ride credit’ for discounts – eg, £100 of credit costs £80.

Cheap taxi apps – price comparison table

All the cheap ones tend to be pretty similar in charges and options and ease of sign-up; it’s only worth comparing each in detail if it’s surge-fares-time.

Sample fare in – 8.5 km/35 minute journey, Friday afternoon, using their most basic car option, March 2020.

NameOptionsPrices / promo
BoltCars: Bolt / XL (6) / Executive£13-£15

Promo code – XTCZY – £12
KabbeeCars: Normal / Exec

App options for:
– 6 and 8 person
– cheapest
– best rated

Can prebook
Can set ‘via’ (+ button)
Can request baby seat
Fixed – £18
No surge pricing
No promo code
Specialises in airport trips – 30 mins free waiting
KaptenCars: no options

Good loyalty options – details above
Fixed – £15

Promo code LIRCOW – £10
OlaCar options: normal, XL (6), Exec£16-£21

Promo code – BHHWQ4U – £5 off
UberCar options: Pool / UberX / Exec / Lux / UberXL (6) / Assist / Access
(all explained above)

Can prebook

Promo code CMRGEUE – £3
Via vanCar options: Via Shared / Private ride

Often unavailable.
Good loyalty options – details above.

£10 for share, or £15 for private – detail above

Promo code Lir9x3 – £12
Cheap taxi apps comparison table

Luxury taxi apps details

Normally more expensive than the above, but with extra options and better cars. Unless otherwise stated, most use London black cabs

Addison Lee – good cars, professional drivers and free wifi and phone chargers.

  • Select – VW Sharan, Ford Galaxy or Toyota Prius
  • Select + – VW Sharan or Ford Galaxy, takes up to 6 people
  • Executive – E- and S-Class Mercedes cars. Max three years old.
  • Pet Select+ – pet friendly vehicles. Bring your dog or cat!
  • Cycle select – VW Sharan or Ford Galaxy. 2 people, 1 bike
  • Courier – not just for little brown envelopes – you can request space in a large van. These are big enough to take wardrobes, mattresses and other large furniture and pay just for the single item you’re sending – far simpler than finding a man-and-van in your area or renting a van.

Gett – one of the options for ordering a black cab. Main differentiator to Free-now is that it does fixed fares. Also has option for electric-only vehicles. Available in 135 countries.

Free-now (formerly Hailo and MyTaxi) – doesn’t do fixed fares, unlike Gett. You can also use this to pay for a black cab when you’re in it, if you don’t have card/cash and you summoned it off the road (you have to tell the driver in advance). Works in many cities and countries.

TaxiApp UK – this is a non-profit co-operative owned by the black cabs themselves – nice.

Wheely – promises a ‘chauffeur’ style service with elegant cars for those who want something less conspicuous than a limo.  More detail on the Mercedes options on Wheely’s site

  • Business – Mercedes Benz E-class – 4 people max
  • First – Mercedes Benz S-class, 3 people max
  • XL (6) – Mercedes Benz V-class, 6 people max

Luxury taxi apps comparison table

NameCar optionsSample basic fare
Addison LeeCar options: Select + (6) / Executive / Pet Select+ / Cycle select / Courier
More info above

Can prebook
Note ‘Courier’ great for moving big items
Good business options
Fixed asap –  £21.90
Prebook for next day – £18

Promo code: Ride8 – £8 off
(Black cab)
Car options: Black cab / Eco (6) / XL (6) / Accessible

Can prebook, with easy 30/60 min options

Promo code – Vanessa.lir – £5
(Black cab)
Car options: Black cab / Green / Electric / Accessible / XL (6 ppl)

Can prebook
Cancel without charge within 3 mins

Promo code: GTYOIOV – £15
Taxiapp UK
(Black cab)
Car options: Black cab / 6 person

Can prebook
App is owned by black cab drivers – profits go to them!

WheelyCar options: Business (4) / First (3) / XL (6)
More detail above

Can prebook

Promo code – B79KQ – 20%
Luxury car options

Answers to your questions

  • how to get your pet across London?
    • Addison Lee is the only one which explicitly supports pets. Note their terms say: dogs, cats, and other typical household pets. Please be advised that if you’re travelling with a lizard, uncaged bird, a monkey, or any other exotic or less common pet, your driver will have right of refusal!
  • which apps have the best options for the mobility-impaired?
    • Of the cheaper options, Uber has nice choices eg light support for elderly, versus being able to load fixed wheelchairs – detailed above. All the black cab options – Gett, Free-now and Taxiapp – have some accessible option.
  • do any apps allow you to set a stop or via point so you can collect a friend?
    • Kabbee (cheap)
  • which transport to use for a bit of decadence or to impress your date?
    • Wheely (Mercedes) or Uber Lux (good brands, including Rolls Royce)
  • how they typically compare in price – are some better for long haul (eg airport trips) versus short trips
    • Cheap options are generally similar – at any time, any one of these listed might be the cheapest, with pooling (ViaVan and Uber) always the cheapest of all. However, Kabbee prides itself on airport trips so might be good for a longer trip if you don’t want to pool.
  • which ones give you the peace of mind of a fixed fare?
    • Of the cheap options, ViaVan, Kapten and Kabbee all have fixed fare
  • are there any which seat 5, 6, 7 or 8 people in a trip?
    • All the black cab options take 5 by default – Gett, Free-now and Taxiapp
    • UberXL, OlaXL, BoltXL and KabbeeXL all have a 6 person option (obvs, also takes 5)
    • All of the expensive options offer a 6 person option
    • For 7 or 8 people, Kabbee has the only option
  • which ones allow you to pre-book your ride?
    • Of the cheap options, only Kabbee and Uber
    • All the luxury options allow prebooking.
  • are any of them big enough to transport furniture (bed, sofa, etc)?
    • Addison Lee’s courier option is perfect for this. I’ve used it to get a large item of furniture for a few miles – very handy!
  • do any reward loyalty?
    • Kapten and ViaVan have options