Thursday night in London was the venue of the LONAP sponsored trefor.net Pissup In A Brewery. It was a terrific event and we have a ton of photos but there was nobody in the office on Friday so you’re gonna have to wait till the week to see them. Video also on the way.
The evening drew to a close at around 8.45 (it was an early doors bash) and our train was at 10 pm. Plenty of time to get from South Bermondsey to King’s X. Don’t know if you’ve ever been to South Bermondsey – home of Millwall FC? It’s not exactly on the beaten track. Black cabs struggle with it. In fact if you think you will find a black cab cruising the area on the off chance of picking up a fare you should think again.
Enter uber stage left. On Thursday night the weather had been just right. The barbecue was outside and people were able to comfortably spill out of the brewery to enjoy the midsummer evening. Towards the end of the Pissup it started to drizzle. That was ok. The evening had been a terrific success and a bit of gentle summer rain did not detract from this. The rain did however dampen our enthusiasm about walking to the train station and certainly made the notion of trying to find a taxi quite unattractive.
Fret not dear reader. I had earlier downloaded the Uber app. It was the work of seconds. I whipped out my trusty droid and summoned a car, opting for an executive job seeing as there were three of us and we had paraphenalia in the shape of banners and signs to cart back. Within fifteen minutes a Mercedes had turned up.
I could tell beforehand exactly when the car was going to arrive as the app tracked its progress, I knew the name of the driver and the make and colour of the vehicle. Just before it got to our location I also received a text message letting me know of its imminent arrival. The whole experience was extremely impressive.
The fare, which was automatically covered by the credit card I had preregistered with the Uber system was £25 for the 31 minute journey. On the way out to the Pissup, one of the team, Rob, had hopped in a black cab as he had all the promo stuff to carry. The taxi not only struggled to find the brewery but also cost him £40.
The Black Cabs are currently up in arms about Uber claiming that the service operates illegally. I had no views before Thursday night. However my experience was so good that I have become an instant fan of Uber. Black Cabs have their place in the service mix. They have all indeed undergone a lengthy period of training to pass the “knowledge” so I might be able to live with the higher prices where it suits me – walking out of a pub on a busy central London street or arriving at the rank at a station.
Whether the London Taxi driver community like it or not my experience with Uber was so good, their product is so good, that they are clearly here to stay. If cabbies don’t like it that’s tough I’m afraid. Technology moves on and the world changes, in this case definitely for the better.
PS was chatting with Jahed the driver who said he was happy with the money he got from Uber. His biggest fare was £292 when some kids signed up for an account with a stolen card. He picked them up at 9pm and drove them around central London until 1.30 am. He got paid by Uber but they never got the cash off the card company. Inneresting innit!
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