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Reason 598 to HATE London Taxis and why I LOVE UBER worldwide!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


london taxi

Have you ever been to LHR, that is, London Heathrow Airport? There is a lot to like for Delta flyers especially if you are flying in business class and can visit the lounges. But that is not what I am talking about today – I am talking Taxis and why I so hate them.

I love my Uber. I use the service all over the world (where stupid governments have not banned them, that is). Uber is always, it seems, fighting with airports for rights to pickup passengers.

After a recent visit to LHR I needed a short ride to a hotel near the airport (more on that trip later). But you see the LHR Taxi drivers are worse than just about any drivers I have come across worldwide. Here is why:

  • They over charge you
  • (Most) do not take credit cards
  • They refuse the fare
  • They make up rates
  • Their attitude is horrid

And those are the “good” points (just kidding). After I did get a ride with a Taxi the amount on the meter did not match what he billed my card (found one that had iPad billing). Another time I just could not get ANY cab to take me where I wanted to go.

Thankfully my Samsung NOTE4 phone works in England and thanks to the free international add-on plan Sprint now has it was free to use data to request an Uber and calling was just 20 cents a minute. But LHR has some strange rules to allow Uber.

They “officially” have to park in the parking area and come either meet you inside or pick you up in the parking area. I had one loop around, much like I do in the USA when they are banned, and just pick me up as a “friend”. Love that.

Bottom line is this – Uber saved me and mine when traveling vs. the LHR Taxis who left me standing.

What has been your Taxi experience in London and other places around the world. Has Uber saved the day for you as well? – René

 

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

7 Comments

  1. How to avoid getting ripped off by Taxis:
    Before you get into the Taxi, take a photo of the license plate. When you get into the Taxi, take a photo of the Driver’s credentials.
    Make certain that the driver is aware of the fact that you took those photos. It will, in most cases, result in a proper charge.

    When using a credit card in a Taxi, most places allow a surcharge of around 10%. Ask if you’re not sure.

    I have a question: Is a gratuity expected by an Uber driver?

  2. Hi Rene,

    OT and I am pretty sure you have discussed it on your blog somewhere but still want to confirm.
    Want to fly from DFW to ATL to London. I can find level 1 saver awards in economy from DFW to ATL and business class from ATL to London. Is it possible to combine these awards if I call Delta? Basically pay 62,500 instead of 100000 Delta is asking online. Thanks. R

    • @R – In the past you could. Now, since Delta ended mixed awards in end of May/June you will have to do two one-ways and pay the higher taxes as a result.

  3. You know I love Uber too but our recent trip to London left me with less of a good taste. I know it’s not Uber’s fault that the drivers have to park and walk in but that stinkss. We only used Uber once more on the trip and it was fine but I gotta say the black cab experiences we had in London proper (across city coupe of times and to LHR) we splendid. I guess we got lucky with our drivers this time. On our final departure I checked the Uber app for a quote to LHR just for grins but grabbed a cab in front of the hotel. Ended up being about same cost as the estimate. Enjoyed the chat with the cabbie on the way to the airport perhaps more than any Uber driver chat ever.

    London – please deal with the Uber situation at the airport. It’s pretty clear you can only force them to pay for parking and cost me precious time. We like choices and it’s good to help keep the cabbies in check.

  4. Obtuse Giraffe Reply

    Oh people! Taxi drivers have to pay a fortune to pick up people at Heathrow, hence the reason for forcing Uber drivers to park. Allowing Uber drivers to pick up for free whilst regular taxis have to pay wouldn’t be fair now, would it?

    Now, let’s look at your other points:

    They over charge you: The fares set are set by the local council, not by the taxi drivers, and don’t forget the fee that heathrow charge them to pick up

    (Most) do not take credit cards: Agreed. In this day and age, it’s inexcusable. If you want to use a black cab in London, I’d forget Uber (I don’t know if you’ve noticed just how bad their sat nav app is on the phone, and their street knowledge is appalling), and use Hailo instead. It works just like Uber but for the fact you get a black cab, which is metered, and it’s billed direct to your credit card. Not only that, their street knowledge is beyond reproach.

    They refuse the fare: Agreed, and as mentioned, report them

    They make up rates: They do NOT make up the rates. They are set, as mentioned earlier, by the local council

    Their attitude is horrid: Agreed again

    One thing that your article didn’t mention is that Uber impose a £4 premium for being picked up at Heathrow

  5. My experience of using Uber in London has been bad compared to proper taxis. First, Uber will take longer to arrive – the App won’t even have loaded by the time a taxi has stopped for you. Second a taxi is spacious, clean and comfortable whereas Ubers are never spacious and often not particularly clean or comfortable. Third Ubers always choose worse routes, relying on Google which sends you down jammed main roads, while taxis take you the fast and direct way.

    Having said that, Ubers are certainly cheaper but they should be as they are significantly worse.

  6. I love Uber for the most part. Living in NYC its much cheaper than yellow cabs, usually nicer cars, and better service. Having lived in London however, I think you’re off and perhaps have sample size issues regarding taxis there. While taxis are quite expensive in London, even relative to NYC, their knowledge of London streets is nothing short of amazing, they’re spacious vehicles, and in the dozens, if not hundreds of cabs rides I’ve taken there I’ve never once been mischarged, overcharged, or had a fare refused. Many don’t take cards, and ones that do often charge an extra 10% fee, but as another commenter wrote, that’s a structural issue of London. Given the Tube goes directly to Heathrow as well at the Heathrow Express, only rookies take cabs from the airport anyway. Cabs are expensive in London, no doubt, but nearly everything is as well, and given the spacious cars that can easily fit 3-4 people and their extensive knowledge of an incredibly large city, I’ve got no issues w the cabs there.

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