Uber has lost its licence in London, but don’t despair, there are apps that can help you get a cheap fare.
TfL will not be renewing Uber’s private-hire licence in London based on ‘public safety and security implications’. Other UK cities with Uber licences are currently unaffected.
Uber is going to appeal the decision, and it will be able to continue to operate during this process. But if you’re one of the 3.5 million Londoners who use Uber, then you may want to seek out an alternative.
Thankfully, there are plenty of smartphone apps that take the hassle out of hailing a cab.
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Mytaxi – free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone
Formerly Hailo, Mytaxi lets you hail black cabs from your phone. Like Uber, the app will show you how close your car is, but it won’t give you a maximum cost for the fare. You can get an estimate before you hail a cab, but it’s not a cap and it could be more expensive if you encounter traffic or other issues.
You can choose to pay with cash or through the app, and you can share the details of journey with friends and family, so they know where you are.
Gett – free on iOS and Android
Like Mytaxi, Gett lets you hail black cabs, but has the added bonus of telling you what your fare will be before you order. The Mytaxi method of estimating your bill could lead to a cheaper fare, but some people prefer to know the charge before they set off, as with Uber.
As with most taxi apps, you can prebook your cab and check how far away it is on a map while you wait.
Addison Lee – free on iOS and Android
Addison Lee has more in common with Uber than Gett, in that you are hiring minicabs rather than Hackney carriages.
You get a choice of car, ranging from the Uber classic Prius to a car with space for two passengers and a bike. You can hire pet-friendly cars, too.
Before you book, the app will tell you the cost of the fare and how long you’ll need to wait. You can pay with cash or have the app debit your account.
Kabbee – free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone
This app is more like a price-comparison site – it lets you see the fare from several different minicab companies, so you can choose the cheapest. It gives you the estimated waiting time for each cab, too.
You can prebook cars and choose the size you want. If you’re getting picked up from the airport and you overdid it in duty free, then order an estate. Or if you just need more seats, then get an MPV.
You can book a taxi through Kabbee on its website, too.
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What are your other choices?
- Price-comparison sites – websites such as taxipricecompare.co.uk and minicabit.com compare taxi prices for your chosen journey, so you can pick the cheapest. They’re not much use if you’ve staggered out of the pub and need a taxi immediately, but they’re ideal for prebooking.
- Zipcar – with vehicles all across the country, Zipcar is one of the easiest ways to hire a car. You can hire one by the hour or take it out for a full day or more. When you’re finished, you simply drop it back off at the parking space you picked it up from. If you think you might need it for longer, you can contact Zipcar for more time.
- Drive Now – this is similar to Zipcar, but it’s ideal for short journeys since it only charges by the minute – 33p per minute, to be exact. You can drop the car off in most parking spaces, even residents’ spaces and pay-and-display bays. The catch is that it’s only available in north-east London boroughs for now.
Of course, a good way to avoid expensive taxi fares is to make the journey on foot. Find out how to buy the best fitness or activity tracker for extra motivation on the move.