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Is Uber unfailingly cheaper than a black cab, like many believe? According to a recent study by ValuePenguin UK, the answer is “No.” It turns out that hailing a black cab with the Gett app can be more economical than an Uber ride – it all depends on Uber surge pricing.
Never Pay Over 1.7X Uber Surge Pricing
ValuePenguin’s analysis shows that 1.7X surge pricing from Uber is the breakeven sweet spot where UberX and a fixed-fare black cab Gett ride will cost roughly the same price for trips around London. If you are quoted for surge pricing beyond 1.7X, using Gett to hail one of London’s iconic black cabs will inevitably save you money over Uber.
Source: Value Penguin
For their analysis, researchers gathered sample pricing data on rides between centrally-located Green Park and popular locations around London, averaging across various times of the day and week. For black cabs, the “fixed fare” option was selected in the Gett app. Without any surge pricing, Uber does consistently come in cheaper by around 40%. But as most Uber riders know, during busy times Uber often charges more for the same ride in the form of surge pricing.
Be on the Lookout for Uber Surge Pricing
If you’re an Uber user, check for surge pricing before you book a ride. It’s possible that you’ll see surge pricing of 1.3X, 1.7X, 2X or more during busy times, such as rush hour or weekend evenings. A 2X surge means you’ll be charged twice as much for your trip.
Smart Londoners Install Gett
Those who hail rides in London using Uber would be wise to install Gett as well. When Uber surge pricing hits 1.7X, check prices for a black cab on Gett. With that level of surge pricing, you’re likely to find a cheaper ride in a black cab.
Gett Black Cab Perks
Money aside, there are some tangible benefits to riding in one of London’s black cabs. A black cab is much roomier than a Prius, the car of choice for most Uber drivers. When you’re travelling with luggage or are riding with friends or family, the extra space in a black cab can clearly make for a more comfortable trip.
Another perk of the Gett app is the option to choose a fixed fare. Even during heavy traffic, a fixed-fare Gett ride will cost what you were quoted, and no more. Uber pricing is dependent upon both mileage and time spent, so heavy traffic conditions can lead to a higher Uber price than expected.
Why Does Uber Impose Surge Pricing?
There is some logic to Uber’s surge pricing mechanism. In conditions when there exist more riders than drivers on the road (demand exceeds supply), surge pricing is meant to entice more drivers into the area. Another likely consequence is discouraging some riders from hailing rides, thereby reducing demand and freeing up cars. But with black cabs abundant in London, there may be no need to pay Uber’s higher surge pricing rates.
How Does Gett Work?
The Gett app is available for iPhone and Android, plus there’s a mobile web app for Blackberries and Windows phones. There are no minimum fares or surge pricing, riders get two minutes free waiting time and you can pay with a card through the app or in cash.
It’s always important to understand cancellation terms with ride-hailing apps. With Gett, you can cancel your trip within three minutes of booking your ride without being charged; by cancelling after three minutes you’ll be charged £3. A no-show or cancelling after the cab arrives is charged £5.
For future bookings, you’d be charged £5 for either a no-show or cancellation within 15 minutes of the scheduled pick-up time.
Free to Compare Prices
As both Uber and Gett apps are free to download, you only stand to gain by using both to price check your trip before you book. The data shows that a fixed-fare Gett ride is usually cheaper once Uber surge pricing hits or exceeds 1.7X. So the next time you need a ride on a busy Friday evening, price check a fixed-fare ride in the Gett app and you may find that a shiny black cab is the cheaper option.