STOCKHOLM Reuters ride-hailing service, Bolt said on Monday it plans to allow drivers to set their own prices and passengers to select their driver, starting with three UK cities, days after rival Uber Technologies Inc raised prices by 10% in London.
Bolt said that the changes would give drivers more control over their business and would address national concerns about driver shortages that led to longer wait times, cancellations and surge pricing.
Many drivers had to quit because of the lack of customers, which has caused the ride-hailing customers in several countries to have cab unavailability during peak hours.
A common criticism is that drivers tend to accept and then reject trips if a more profitable journey becomes available elsewhere.
Estonia-based Bolt and U.S.-based Uber are trying to lure drivers back to their platforms with the promise of more income.
Sam Raciti, Bolt's regional manager for Western Europe, said the Bolt app will have fewer driver cancellations and reduce wait times on the Bolt app so customers can get to their destination quickly and safely.
Bolt will be testing the new features across three cities in the Midlands region of England this week ahead of a planned UK wide rollout before Christmas, when 65,000 drivers would be able to set their own prices within a range or use surge pricing.
Uber had also started to allow drivers in California to set their own fares for trips, but they removed the feature less than a year later, saying more riders declined higher fares and did not request a ride on Uber.