There are loads of ways to get around London, like buses, the tube, overground and taxis. Thanks to my trusty smart phone, there are even more options that I can get at the touch of a button.
Over the weekend I needed a taxi to get 5 of us to a restaurant in town. Normally I would have taken the tube, but this wasn’t an option on this occasion; I think that I have been in a black cab about 3 times in the 7 years I’ve lived in the capital. I could have used an Uber – I have only done so twice, but both times were great – but as I needed 5 seats, a black cab was needed. I could have just hailed one on the street, but this can be hit or miss as they don’t often come down my road with the yellow light on.
In the end, I ordered one using the Hailo app It was really easy to set up; adding card details was a doddle as it was done using the camera. I then specified the pick-up time and destination and that was it. An hour before collection I had a notification to remind me and a few minutes before the pick-up time the driver called.
I was given an estimate quote of £10 and it ended up being £11.60. I was able to add a tip on my phone and pay automatically. As we walked into the restaurant I got an email receipt.
Contrast this to the journey home.
We asked the maître d’ to get us a taxi (specifically using the word ‘taxi’ which is a black cab on the meter in London). After about 20mins a 7-seater mini cab arrived to take us home. Once en-route the driver asked for our destination and then after the post code. We got home safe and sound, and were charged £21 for the privilege.
We had a great time and a fabulous meal but I have learnt a couple of things:
- Black cabs are not unreasonable – had we all taken the tube we would have paid £12 and not been door to door.
- Hailo works really well if it is a black cab you want – I’d certainly recommend it for in and around central London. For a longer trip, from the airport home for example, the Hailo app was offering fixed prices from £50 compared to Uber’s £34-37.
- Getting the maître d’ to sort out the lift home was very luxurious, but we might have been quicker and cheaper doing it ourselves (using Hailo from the comfort of the restaurant!)
Have you used Hailo? Would you pick a black cab over a mini cab?