Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Uber (London private cab) - promotional code for London Expat readers

Picture having a luxury car at your beck and call. While there are a number of London private cab options, it's mostly a matter of getting from point A to B with the least possible fuss - comfort is not exactly in the equation. Surround sound stereo, leather seats and bottled drinks? Forget it.

Enter Uber, the luxury cab service. Calling them cabs is perhaps an understatement. With a fleet of sleek black cars at Uber's disposal, expect no less than Mercedes and BMW.

Uber+London+private+cab+app+Promotional+CodeUber offers a nifty app (for both iPhone and Andriod phones) that can be downloaded onto your phone in seconds. Start up the app, enter your credit card details and you're good to go. Once your location is pinpointed, a map will pop up telling you exactly where the nearest cab is and when it will reach you.

While Uber doesn't exactly allow you to book a cab in advance, the inbuilt map allows you to pinpoint where you'd be when the cab arrives. If you have the postcode, well and good. If not, just shift the map around - I made a request for the driver to wait at the corner of my block and he was waiting right at the spot minutes later.

Unlike other private cab services, there is no quoted price. Given central London's notorious traffic, there is an obvious downside to that. The cab fee is deducted directly from your credit card, which details you have input earlier into the app. That said, the prices are surprisingly reasonable considering the comfort and convenience.

I took a ride from Angel to Canary Wharf around 8am on a weekday. I was pleasantly surprised that the nearest cab available is a mere 10 minutes away. Just enough time for me to get grab a cup of coffee before heading out. Once confirmed, the license plate as well as a photo of the driver (and his ratings) popped up on the phone's screen. Neat.

As I was hurrying out of the door, I could see the cab turning north from City Road up to Islington High Street on the app's map. The BMW pulled up along the curbside seconds after I arrived at the appointed spot.

The ride to Canary Wharf took just under 30min, which is probably what would have taken me if I were to take the Tube. It costs much more though - £22 compared to £2.20 on the Tube. But I escaped the morning rush hour on the Tube and apparently, the delays due to signal failures as well, which I learnt about later.

You probably isn't going to use Uber to get to work on a daily basis. But if you are going on a nice date and looking to travel in style at an affordable rate and yet have some flexibility, Uber's the way to go. It seems that there are more cabs available if you are in central London but with more cabs signing up, the coverage is almost certainly to increase.

For those of us who are more used to going for Addison Lee, which provide a price quote thus capping the fee, you'd be pleasantly surprised that Uber's fare is comparable if not lower than Addison Lee's on a journey with little traffic. Not to mention that Uber drivers' level of service is in a league of its own - one was all over me when I had a persistent cough, offering bottles of water, sweets, lozenges and what not. 

To start you off, Uber is offering all London Expat's readers a credit of £15 for your first ride. Just enter Uber promotional code "londonexpat" into the app and you're good to go. Though it wouldn't be reflected in your app's credit, rest assured that £15 will be taken off the fare. Enjoy the ride!

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