Uber may never return to London, which means reverting back to pre-existing travel methods. Or does it? Ben Griffin investigates six of the best alternatives available on Android, iPhone and Windows Phone that may just work for you.
It was all going swimmingly for those who wanted a cheap alternative to the black cabs, but even though Transport for London (TfL) had deemed Uber safe it went and decided against a licence renewal. Cue lots of angry users and drivers and very relieved black cabbies.
Since then, Uber’s new CEO has issued a public apology and will be battling to see the decision reversed. Assuming, of course, the company can undo TfL’s opinion that its, “approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility”. But right now we are in budget taxi limbo land.
Uber’s London general manager, Tom Elvidge, started a petition to help speed up the process and that has achieved 786,000 signatures at the time of writing. Enough to make London Mayor Sadiq Khan take notice, we would assume.
The flip-side is that, while competition is healthy in any market and black cabs are far too expensive for many Londoners and tourists to use regularly, if at all, Uber has never been the best at caring for its drivers and safety has been a concern.
You could, of course, argue that any driver (vetted or not) has the potential to be dangerous. The difference with Uber is that vehicles are tracked by GPS where many alternatives aren’t, which actually makes it easier to vet if TfL wanted to.
Whether or not Uber can and will remain in London is the big question that, unfortunately, we are unable to answer. But what we can do is provide you with some alternatives to mull over, just in case Uber in London dies on its licence renewal date, which is the 30th of October, 2017.
The following Uber rivals may not be as effective or cheap as Uber, but having another option is preferable (not to mention safer) than getting the dreaded night bus, hitching a ride or walking. Or commandeering a random bicycle while holding a kebab…
Best Uber alternatives: MyTaxi
MyTaxi is one of the bigger rivals, having merged with Hailo earlier in 2017. It operates in London and around the world, thanks to employing more than 100,000 taxi drivers around the world and that includes black cabs.
MyTaxi dropped its fares by 50 per cent in light of the Uber news, so it could be worth a look. You can also usually make use of a first-time discount code (‘myfirstmytaxi’) for another tenner off on the first journey you make using the app.
Best Uber alternatives: Kabbee
Kabbee is an app that compares the prices and book a cab from 50 fleets in London. Due to a lack of surge pricing, which can see Uber rides rocket in price at certain times, and fixed rates there should be no surprises.
It is, however, said to be slower to arrive than Uber so consider booking in advance. Usefully, you can pre-pay for a ride or use card or cash at the end of the journey. If you use the code ‘Hurray10’, you can knock a tenner off your first Kabbee journey.
Best Uber alternatives: Gett
Gett is an on-demand taxi ride-hailing app that operates in 25 cities in the UK, including London. It offers a fixed cost for a journey and no surge pricing, as well as the ability to pre-book, use on-demand and pay whatever is on the meter in cash.
Gett also has a ride-sharing function, which works like UberPool in that you can jump in and share a cab along various pre-determined routes around London – like how a bus works. They run from 7am to 10pm and the service is called Gett Together (makes sense). Each shared journey is £3.
Best Uber alternatives: Addison Lee
Typically more of a business choice, Addison Lee can be used by individuals wanting a more premium service, with various vehicle sizes offered. Like with Kabbee, there is no surge charge and the rates are fixed so expensive or not, you know what you will be paying.
You can also track your journey and pick-up can be as little as ten minutes, according to Addison Lee. There is a £7.50 minimum fare and should be able to get £10 off your first journey, which could prove useful when the first emergency comes up and Uber is out of the picture.
Best Uber alternatives: BlaBlaCar
BlaBlaCar is a ride-sharing app that lets you tag along or provide a lift for anyone wanting to go from city to city. Fellow users must have a government ID so there is a level of security, plus you can choose who you have in your car. All you have to do is broadcase where you are going and when.
The cost of a journey is set by the driver so a sort of gentleman’s agreement needs to be made beforehand, but it does mean you can fully utilise all the seats in your car, lower your carbon footprint and potentially get some help with the fuel.
Best Uber alternatives: MiniCabit
MiniCabit is designed to save you time and hassle when booking a cab. It does this by letting you pick a ride from numerous minicab providers, including those based in London. All you have to do is enter your trip requirement, pick the best quote and away you go.
Rides can be offered for one to eight passengers and that includes in the posher executive vehicle option. Booking can be done over the web or using the Android and iPhone app. No Windows Phone option, unfortunately, like with most of the Uber alternatives.