New Year's Eve means only one thing: it's going to be impossible to get a taxi.
Never fear, though: 2014 was the year Uber went from small fry to mainstream, meaning London's streets will have more cabs than ever, all eager to whisk you to your next party. The only problem is, because Uber operates "surge" pricing at peak times, transport is going to come at a cost.
But there are ways to avoid it. Ever-concerned about his customers' wellbeing (or the wellbeing of their wallets, anyway), this time last year Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick released a video advising people how to get around surge pricing. Here it is:
Bear in mind that this was released last year, so the figures are wrong (it's now in more than 100 cities) - but nevertheless, Kalanick's recommendations include:
- Get to where you're going before 8pm
- Between 8pm and 10pm, "it's hot" - like a typical Friday or Saturday night.
- Between 10.30pm and midnight, "it's like crickets out there - nobody's requesting, there's a ton of cars out there". "Most likely you'll get normal pricing, no surge at all".
- At 12.15am, the demand "just way outstrips anything supply can bring to the table". "We're telling drivers the best time to be on the system is between 12am and 3am".
- If you're at a party at 1am "and you'd like to get home economically... wait til 3am"
Advice for Londoners
This morning Uber sent out an email to Londoners adding to Kalanick's advice. Here's a map of road closures, so you can work out where's easiest to find a cab: