Ride-hailing platform Bolt has announced the launch of an advanced taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) scheduling feature in London.
Available now, Londoners can schedule rides up to three days in advance, just as the demand for ride-hailing services is expected to surge during the upcoming colder and darker days, as well as the busy festive period.
This new feature allows passengers to ensure a ride by guaranteeing a driver will be there to pick them up at a specified time. Drivers will be required to wait up to five minutes free of charge after arriving, and the price will be locked in when the driver accepts the scheduled ride.
The introduction of advanced scheduling not only benefits passengers but also presents advantages for drivers. Passengers who opt for scheduled rides will pay a small surcharge to compensate for the waiting time upon arrival, offering drivers an opportunity to increase their earnings. Additionally, both passengers and drivers can plan their schedules more efficiently by incorporating these scheduled rides.
When scheduling a ride, passengers can choose from a variety of categories tailored to their needs. These categories include the standard 'Bolt' category, the spacious 'XL', the luxurious 'Exec', and the recently introduced 'Black Cab' category, which provides access to London's bus lanes, ensuring a smooth and efficient journey.
For a seamless experience for airport pickups, Bolt has dedicated pick-up areas at all of London's airports. Passengers can easily navigate to these areas with the help of in-app walking directions from Arrivals, making the process as hassle-free and efficient as possible.
To schedule a ride, passengers simply need to tap the calendar icon within the Bolt app, enter the date, time, pick-up, and drop-off locations, and select the desired category. Drivers can view all their scheduled ride requests through the Bolt Driver app. Passengers can cancel a ride at no additional charge up to one hour before the scheduled pick-up time. However, cancellations made after this deadline will incur a cancellation fee.
Deborah Meijer, Head of Operations for Bolt in London, said: “It’s safe to say that the cold and the dark are well on their way. This means that more and more Londoners are turning to the reliability and convenience of Bolt rides, with this being especially the case during the festive season. I’m delighted to give our customers the ability to plan ahead so they can spend more time in the moment and less time stressing about their journey.”
A perk of being a customer of the company’s corporate travel arm, Bolt Business, is early access to features. Clients have had access to the scheduled rides feature for a couple of months, with it typically being used for offsite meetings and airport transfers in the early hours.
Kostas Sausdravas, Assistant General Manager at Meraki Greek Restaurant & Bar Fitzrovia, said: "Working with Bolt has been a true lifesaver for my team. When we know there aren't going to be trains available late at night, Bolt ensures our staff gets home safely and conveniently. Thank you, Bolt, for your reliable service!"