As Uber fights to get back its London license, its competitors are quickly moving to lure customers and drivers to rival services such as Bolt, Kapten and new-entrant Ola. Uber is in the middle of a 21-day appeal period during which it can continue operating.
It's not Uber's first round with Transport for London, which licenses app-hail vehicles as well as running the public transport system; two years ago, it was also briefly banned over failure to properly investigate and license drivers. This year's non-renewal came after TfL discovered that thousands of rides were with un-vetted or banned drivers using accounts belonging to other drivers.
Uber has a broad base of users in London; the previous ban resulted in petitions of support with thousands of signatures, but the regulator insists that Uber's popularity cannot be allowed to override safety considerations.
Bolt, which has operated in London for several years, sent its customers an email saying that “news about the other ride-hailing app in London has brought us thousands of new sign-ups already.” Bolt has also welcomed Uber drivers to apply. Kapten, a French company that added London earlier this year, and Ola, an Indian company that will soon open London, are also using the situation to promote their services.
Photo: London taxi drivers in 2016 protest against Uber