Wave goodbye to that hard-earned 4.83 rating - taxi app Uber has had its licence revoked in London and its cars could disappear from the capital’s streets within a month (pending an appeal).
That’s potentially going to leave countless millennials stranded on the pavements, unsure how to get anywhere if they can’t summon a ride from the phone in their pocket.
But Uber isn’t the only taxi app out there. Here are six alternatives, just in case Uber’s time in London does come to a premature end.
Addison Lee has been running taxis since Uber was just a twinkle in Silicon Valley’s eye, and while it’s not immune to scandal itself - owner John Griffin once sparked anger among cyclists after comments about the number of 'beginner cyclists' on the road - its service is generally spot-on. It might be more pricey than the others but that’s generally reflected in the cars used, with Wi-Fi and phone chargers also available in every one.
If you’ve used a black cab in the past five years you’ve probably been subjected to the driver’s opinions on Uber. But for years they made you stop off somewhere on the way for cash, refused to go south of the river after dark, and wouldn’t shut up for more than five seconds, so it was no surprise people looked for alternatives.
Taxiapp doesn’t guarantee to change two of those things but it does allow you to pay by card and makes hailing a ride much easier, with an Uber-style real-time map to see how far away your nearest Hackney carriage is.
For a lot of people the most annoying thing about Uber is the surge pricing, which could turn a normally affordable journey into a pretty pricey one. Gett also uses London’s black cabs but won’t ramp its prices up because there’s another tube strike, plus you can choose to pay either the given fare or go by the meter.
It even runs an Uber Pool-style car-sharing service called Gett Together, but only use that if you’re prepared to be stuck in a confined space with a stranger and are ready to make small talk, which isn’t a very London thing to do at all.
Kabbee is more like a price comparison app for minicabs than an actual taxi provider, but once you’ve selected one of the 70 or so companies it offers, you can make your booking directly through the app. Tell it where you’re going and it’ll show you prices and estimated pick-up times, and with up to 10,000 cars on its books you shouldn’t be kept waiting too long.
Within minutes of the Uber news breaking, MyTaxi had knocked 50% off all fares until the end of September, so it’s clearly not run by mugs.
The app formerly known as Hailo also uses black cabs, although you can pre-book like an Uber, and if you end up in the back of a particularly cheerful cabbie’s car you can add them to your list of favourites and increase your chances of riding with them again. Outside of weekday office hours there’s a £10 minimum charge, so if you’re after a cheap lift home from the station when it’s raining, you might want to try one of the others.
You know what London had long before Uber turned up? A pretty damn good public transport system. No, it’s not perfect, but the tubes are only really mega-busy during rush hour, the buses offer a bonus sightseeing tour (unless you’re just going somewhere like Penge) and if you’re not in a rush you can often walk to where you’re going in no time at all.
Citymapper will show you every available option from A to B (including taxis) and even tell you how much it’ll cost too.