With so many different options available for booking a cab in London now, what are the best options and when should you use them?
The answer very much depends on what day it is, where you’re going, what time is it, how quickly you want to get there and how much do you want to spend. Being someone who is constantly travelling around the country, I’ve tried my fair share of services, and as the owner of Taxicode you might think I’d use my own company every time I need a taxi service, but in fact I don’t. It really depends on what I’m doing and where I want to go.
I live in Vauxhall, so it’s fairly hard to hail a black cab on my road - they pass through Vauxhall but not in massive numbers, meaning you often have to wait a while. Instead, when I’m going into the city, I use UberX. It is a cheap option, but the driver often has no clue where they are going - I normally have to assist them and I can expect to get beeped at when we miss our turn and stop in the middle of the road. Uber is convenient, cheap and cash-free, and great for a short to medium distance journeys.
Recently, a customer was charged a £102 fare in London for what should have been a 20-minute, four-mile journey, after the driver ended up driving for 20-miles. Fortunately though for the customer in this instance, Uber does record the routes taken for all journeys, and the customer was able to get his money back. This is a benefit of Uber being so heavily tech-based – they are able to record a large amount of data to provide wide visibility.
When heading home after a night out, I will use a black cab every time. They take no time to hail, and I can just give the driver a rough idea of where I’m going, thanks to ‘The Knowledge’, and save time by using bus lanes. However, their major downfall is that I need to make sure I have cash in case he has the words “CASH ONLY” taped to his window. Black Cabs are much quicker than an Uber though, and really not much more expensive for a short trip - cash difference maybe a few pounds but I get home much quicker and I don’t need to keep an eye on the driver.
If Uber has a surge of 1.6 or more, it's cheaper and faster to get a black cab. As well as this, in heavy traffic your Uber will be stuck, but a black cab can nip down the bus lane - not to be underestimated.
When I want to go a little bit further (five miles or more), or I’m headed to the airport, I use Taxicode. For such a journey the price is cheaper than a black cab or Uber, and the price is fixed. The minicab driver is generally much more experienced given he drives the route three or four times per day. There’s a wider range of payment options than with Uber and black cabs, and all the pickups and drop-offs can be pre-booked.
Would I use Hailo or Gett? No, not really. Not because they are a competitor to Taxicode, because they are not – we operate within a different space – but simply because when hailing a cab there and then it’s much quicker and easier to wave my hand in the air, or to use Uber.
When it comes down to it, it’s a choice between waving your hand in the air at the side of the road, hailing a driver directly using an app, and pre-booking your journey online. Each option has its pros and cons, and it can be up to the individual user to find what works for them, especially taking location into account, but from my experience it makes sense to use a mix of the three options, so you can save time and money wherever and whenever you’re travelling.
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