With the recent news that British officials have given Uber the boot out of London, many people are forced to reckon with an immediate future where the ride-sharing juggernaut is no longer their go-to selection when it comes to getting from point A to point B.
In a statement, Uber wrote, “3.5 million Londoners who use our app, and more than 40,000 licensed drivers who rely on Uber to make a living, will be astounded by this decision.”
That data suggests that 40 percent of London residents use Uber and will need to find an alternative. Many people's allegiance to Uber stems from the price point — which is far less than the black cabs there — as well as the ease in which they cab hail a ride thanks to the prevalence of smartphones.
Not surprisingly, there are similar companies operating in London which check either one or both boxes.
Should you be a resident of London, or just visiting, here are the five ride-sharing applications that should be on your radar.
One of the most well-known services already existing in London is mytaxi which boasts 10 million users and 45,000 cars. But unlike Uber, mytaxi still relies on traditional automobiles - emblazoned with "Taxi" on the facade - and drivers who bring a dearth of knowledge about the London roadways to their trade.
Founded in 2009, the Hamburg-based company has offered Uber-loyalists a 50 percent reduction on their normal rate to win their business, stating, "We believe Londoners deserve the highest standards in safety, accessibility with a premium service that’s second to none."
Additionally, they regularly offer half-price rides to key destinations like Heathrow Airport.
To illustrate the fare difference between Uber and mytaxi, The Telegraph checked a standard fare between Clapham Junction and Bank station. With Uber, the ride cost between £14-£19 GBP - and as high as £25 GBP during surge pricing. With mytaxi, the estimate was £17-£23 GBP.
In 2016, Volkswagen invested $300 million USD in Israeli startup, GETT, which primarily serviced 60 European cities at the time and had a $2 billion USD valuation with investors. Simultaneously, Toyota put its money on Uber and BMW ponied up cash in Scoop - all of whom were several months after General Motors partnered with Lyft. Needless to say, major corporations saw the value in becoming partners rather than mortal enemies - not simply out of an entrepreneurial spirit, but because of the real risk of people eschewing car ownership altogether.
As The New York Times noted at the time, "automakers have become increasingly concerned about those technologies, and their potential to help people travel easily and cheaply without owning a car — or even without knowing how to drive.”
In the subsequent year, GETT has expanded to 100 international cities - focusing primarily on the UK, U.S., Russian and Israeli markets. In the former example, GETT rides service London, Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.
Kabbee is essentially a price-comparison app that allows users select options including "cheapest fare" and "closest taxi" which all figures into what will ultimately be the cost of the trip.
The company claims to be 65 percent cheaper that riding a traditional black taxicab — where price can fluctuate significantly due to traffic and other elements that make a trip take longer than expected.
Unlike other services, Kabbee allows patrons to pay by cash, card or prepaid account.
Addison Lee has been in business for 40 years and has been able to shift and pivot to acquiesce to the needs of technology enthusiasts thanks to a fleet of Ford Galaxy cars that have free 4G Wi-Fi and built-in phone chargers.
As for the service, it's more expensive than Uber (still 30 percent cheaper than black cabs), but it does have its benefits like fixed fares, no surge pricing, ample space for a bicycle, and the ability to book up to three months in advance.
BlaBlaCar is unique because it allows users to essentially hitch a ride with a person who is "going their way" and is more akin to a carpool than anything else.
Rates for this unique experience include £14 GBP from London to Manchester, £8 GBP from Edinburgh to Newcastle, and £8 GBP from Bristol to London.
One of the most unique features of the service is their "Ladies Only" selection which allows female riders and drivers to match for piece-of-mind when it comes to their safety. But as BlaBlaCar notes, 99.4% of rides are offered to both men and women.