Bolt raises fares by 10% for London journeys

Ride-sharing app Bolt has hiked its prices in London by 10%, bringing it in line with rival Uber, as tighter regulations and a shortage of drivers drive up costs.

Uber raised its own prices to the same level last November as it brought in more drivers as gig economy workers moved on to rivals including food delivery services and Amazon, or reduced their hours.

A High Court ruling in December that UK private taxi operators must enter into a contract with customers when accepting bookings has caused problems for gig businesses, which previously insisted it s were simply platforms connecting drivers and passengers.

Uber has since warned that the decision could increase the cost of rides by 20% because it would have to charge customers VAT as a transport provider rather than an agent.

But the decision only affects private hire companies in the capital and Bolt said his price hike would only apply in London.

A separate judgment last year found that Uber drivers should be considered workers rather than contractors. The court argued that if the company set its own prices, the drivers should be considered employees.

Since November, Bolt has allowed select drivers to set their own rates for rides. At the time, Bolt said it would reduce wait times and driver cancellations, following a surge in demand last winter.

But a spokesperson said it had “paused” the rollout while the company reviewed its operating model, following the High Court ruling.

On Tuesday, Bolt announced that it had raised €628 million, in a new funding round led by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity, valuing the company at €7.4 billion, up from €4.2 billion in August. .

Its chief executive, Markus Villig, argued that it wanted to become a “super app”, which offers multiple services on a single platform. In Europe, Bolt has expanded into grocery delivery and mobility, such as electric scooters.

Both markets are crowded with competitors in the UK and there have been several recent acquisitions of smaller companies as the sectors consolidate.

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