Fed up with extortionate black cab taxi fares in London?
As a London resident, I get a taxi card which allows me to get a discount on two swipes per journey. This means that I pay £2.50 instead of £12.50 and I can do this twice in every journey, meaning that if the taximeter shows £25, I will pay £5.
Sounds great, right?
Well yes, it is great, but if you are a London resident, you will know how quickly the taximeter goes through £25, and actually, horrifically, you can only get about 2 miles for £5 and then you have to pay the regular black cab prices.
This makes me very nervous, and as a result, I only use the Black Cabs when there are not likely to be a lot of traffic jams on the roads. Sitting and watching your money evaporate quickly whilst you sit helplessly trapped in the back of your taxi is not my idea of a good time.
Yes, it is fantastic that the council offers a taxi card to London residents with disabilities, but it is not a very reliable service. You book a taxi for a specific time but you have to be ready for the taxi to arrive 15 minutes before or 15 minutes after the time you have specified or maybe even not at all if no driver decides to take your job which has appeared on their screen. And this is not because there are no kind-hearted drivers at that moment. They get reimbursed the full amount later.
For this reason, you are advised not to use this service for time-critical travel appointments. So that rules out doctor appointments, hospital appointments, physiotherapy appointments, train journeys and pretty much anything where the person meeting you doesn’t mind waiting hours for you to turn up, potentially frazzled and penniless after encountering an unexpected traffic jam!
So, what is a wheelchair user to do?
And what about those wheelchair users who visit London, having heard about the wonderful taxi situation where all black cabs are wheelchair accessible? I would be pretty confident that although they may have heard that London is expensive, paying over £25 for a 10-minute journey, will come as a bit of a shock!
The realisation that the taximeter does not stop charging even though you are stopped in an unmoving traffic jam is also an uncomfortable woe.
But I have found a solution. I use Gett cabs. They offer fixed price black cab journeys. Well, when I say fixed price, they usually quote a price range, but accepting a journey that will cost you between £18-£22 is a lot more palatable than accepting a ride in another type of black cab where you sit anxiously watching your precious pounds disappear more rapidly than bath water emptying down the plug hole!