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London Public Transport – Uber, Black Cabs, the Tube, Sadiq Cycles (& Melbourne)

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Take an Uber car from Kensington to St Pancras to meet some friends for dinner one night, the fare is £13. Coming back we go in a traditional Black Cab, same distance, perhaps the traffic is a bit lighter, £30.

The following night it’s Uber again, this time to Covent Garden, about the same distance and at £12.49 about the same fare. Again we come back in a trad London Black Cab and again the fare is £30. Well I want to go on supporting Black Cabs – and I will – but it’s quite a price difference? Although I think partly it’s Uber is too damn cheap, that’s simply not a reasonable pay rate for the time it takes and the expense it must cost.

IMG_2284 - Uber & Black Cab - 540▲ The view down the Cromwell Rd in a Black Cab, the Prius in front of us could easily be an Uber car.

IMG_7197 - Tony & Sadiq Cycles - 270Then I’m taking the tube, London’s generally excellent subway system, from Kensington High St to White City. Usually I’d reckon on about 20 minutes total, Kensington High St to Notting Hill on the District Line, change to the Central Line and White City is the third stop westbound. Except when I get to the Kensington High St platform there is no train for nine minutes. In London that is an extraordinarily long wait. So I abandon the tube, head for the Sadiq Cycle line up outside and pedal off past Westfield to White City, the whole trip takes 13 minutes. Faster than if I’d have done it on the tube even if the train had come straight away.

◄ Santander Cycles, London’s bicycle share scheme. They used to be known as Boris Bikes after Mayor Boris Johnson, with Sadiq Khan as the new mayor I call them Sadiq Cycles.

Finally it’s from Kensington again to Kings Rd in Chelsea, but too far down Kings Rd for the Sloane Square tube stop to work and this morning buses in the traffic are too slow. So I take my own bicycle and get there in 10 minutes, I’d barely have walked to the tube.

IMG_2247 - Covent Garden Brompton shop - 540▲ Covent Garden has Brompton Junction, a new bicycle shop entirely dedicated to fold-up Bromptons. I’ve got one, but it lives in Australia.

A few days later, and back in Melbourne, Australia, I’ve got another Uber versus taxi comparison. Over to St Kilda from Hawthorn for a party at the Grand Prix circuit. Uber in Melbourne is often subject to ‘surge pricing’ and tonight the surge was times 1.7 and the fare came out to A$33.46. Coming back in a regular taxi the straightforward fare is also about A$30.

IMG_2284 - Uber & Black Cab - 540

London Public Transport – Uber, Black Cabs, the Tube, Sadiq Cycles (& Melbourne)

26 March 2017 | Transport

Take an Uber car from Kensington to St Pancras to meet some friends for dinner one night, the fare is £13. Coming back we go in a traditional Black Cab, same distance, perhaps the traffic is a bit lighter, £30. The following night it’s Uber again, this time to Cove...

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The End of All Our Exploring

The End of All Our Exploring

24 March 2017 | Media

Travel, relationships, India and McLeod Ganj at Dharamsala, Australia, Burma, they all feature in Catherine Anderson’s The End of All Our Exploring, a wrenching memoir about her intense, but sadly truncated relationship with the writer and photographer Angus McDonald....

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IMG_2343 - Trim, Sydney Library - 540

The Good Cat Trim

21 March 2017 | Places

It won’t be published until 2018, but I’ve already put a lot of work into a forthcoming book for the National Library of Australia to be titled Australia’s Islands. There are an awful lot of them, more than 8000, more islands in fact than there are in the Caribbean. T...

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IMG_2190 - spiders stored by mud dauber wasp - 540

Backyard Wildlife

20 March 2017 | Living

I regularly comment on the wildlife that appears in my backyard (or my internal courtyard) and in 2015 I wrote about the Gippsland Water Dragon which had taken up residence. Again this year there has been no nesting activity in the courtyard, but there certainly has b...

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The Russian Revolution – 100 Years Later

19 March 2017 | Living

It’s 100 years since the Russian Revolution ushered in Communism and the Soviet Union, assorted galleries and museum in London are celebrating the occasion. The Royal Academy on Piccadilly features Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932 which runs until 17 April. It cov...

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Stepwells of India - 270

The Vanishing Stepwells of India

18 March 2017 | Media

The Vanishing Stepwells of India by Victoria Lautman (with a foreword by Divay Gupta) is a stunning large format coffee table book about stepwells. Global Heritage Fund, the archaeology organization I work with, had stepwell projects a few years ago and their descript...

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IMG_7151 - Plycycle - 540

My New Plycycle – a plywood bicycle

22 February 2017 | Transport

I like bicycles, I’m not a collector, but I do have a few of them. They get used whether it’s just riding around Melbourne – here’s a comparison of my three bicycles in that city. Or riding further afield, like trying out my new London bicycle with a little London-Par...

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lake-eyre

Lake Eyre

7 February 2017 | Media

Lake Eyre – A Journey through the Heart of the Continent – by Paul Lockyer is an ABC coffee table booking which sums up with interesting text and fantastic photos this weirdly wonderful Australian lake. It’s Australia’s largest lake and the fifth largest ‘terminal’ la...

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Small run in with tinpot dictator

29 January 2017 | Culture

Back on 1 December 2016 Yahya Jammeh, Gambia’s president ‘for a billion years,’ lost an election and surprised much of the world when he said he’d accept the result and walk. Shortly after, to nobody’s surprise, he didn’t depart at all, but finally on 21 January 2017 ...

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Money – cash, digital, demonetized, photographed

21 December 2016 | Living

I blogged recently about the 10,000 worthless Indian rupees I’d found myself stuck with after a recent visit to India. After the Indian government demonetized their 1000 and 500 rupee notes – their two biggest banknotes, worth US$14.60 and US$7.30, respectively...

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