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.