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Ride-Hailing Weekly: Uber Changes Course in Europe, Bolt Faces Uphill Battle in Africa

This week, Uber announced it will overhaul its business model in Brussels and launched Uber Rent in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, both Uber and Bolt face continued strikes in South Africa and Bolt has been forced to curtail its services in Tanzania.

Uber users in Brussels will soon be able to order a traditional taxi through the App, Politico reported on Wednesday (Aug. 24). The ride-hailing company revealed that it’s working to integrate regular Brussels taxis into its platform to comply with new regulations after Uber drivers were briefly banned from the city last year

In June, the Brussels regional parliament approved plans for a unified statute for both taxi drivers and for-hire drivers, which covers Uber’s service.

Brussels will be the latest European city to see Uber integrate local taxi firms into its platform, which has rolled out some form of taxi integration in cities in Spain, Austria, Germany, Greece and Italy.

In May, Uber signed one of its biggest deals so far with the Italian company IT Taxi in an agreement that gives thousands of taxi drivers in 90 Italian cities access to the platform.

Uber customers in the U.K. have also gained two new features recently. Earlier this month, it started rolling out the new “Uber Travel” feature, powered by Omio. The British press reported that users will be able to book a range of travel options through the Uber app thanks to the update, which will include options for coach and rail transport.

Read on: Uber Unveils Autonomous Deliveries, Charter Bus Reservations, Other New Features

In another transport offering, the company launched Uber Rent in the U.K. this week. The feature, which is already available in other European countries including Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland, allows users to book a rental car through the Uber app thanks to a partnership with the vehicle rental platform CarTrawler.

While Uber is plowing on with its ambition to become a mobility super app in Europe, the company faced driver strikes in Cape Town last week. Drivers have demanded wage increases, a quicker and more efficient process of renewing permits and a moratorium on the impounding of vehicles.

Related: Super Apps Take Another Step Forward as Uber Joins PayPal, Others in the Great Rollup

The industrial action is also targeting Uber’s rival in the city, Bolt. Striking drivers have given the two ride-hailing companies 14 days to respond or face further protests.

Bolt’s African woes extend beyond Cape Town too. In Tanzania, Bolt this week curtailed its services following regulatory changes imposed by the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LTRA), which impacted the company’s profitability. Bolt will still offer services to corporate clients in Tanzania, but the platform is no longer available to ordinary riders.

Bolt’s decision to exit the Tanzanian market follows a similar move by Uber in April.

As reported in the Tanzanian media, gig drivers in the country want the LTRA to review its policies on ride-hailing apps which they argue threaten to kill the industry entirely.

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About: The findings in PYMNTS’ new study, “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, analyzed the responses from 9,904 consumers in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and showed strong demand for a single multifunctional super apps rather than using dozens of individuals ones.


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