At one time, catching a cab was a simple affair. Either you’d try your luck and hail one down in the street, or plan ahead and get something booked over the phone. Then, as is the case with almost every part of our daily routine, smartphones came along and changed everything.
Ride-hailing app Uber seemed to spring out of nowhere, making the whole process more streamlined than ever. Though with an entirely separate pricing structure to your typical black cabs in any given city, knowing whether you’re getting the best deal has never been more complicated.
To find out which service truly offers better value for money, we studied the data for 20 of the UK and Ireland’s biggest cities. Comparing the local tariffs for black cabs with Uber review data from the area, we calculated which provider is likely to give you the better price. Here’s what we found. Uber and Black cabs go head-to-head in 20 UK & Irish cities
It seems that the commonly-held belief that you’ll always get the best price with Uber just doesn’t stack up to the reality. For a one-mile journey in the daytime, you’d get the better price by taking a Hackney carriage in 40% of the cities we studied.
The difference in fare was most stark over in Dublin
, where you could save almost €7 by opting for a black cab. Uber focuses on its premium ‘UberBLACK’ service in the Irish capital, which is no doubt a factor in this price divide.
Other cities where black cabs represented better value for money included Bath and Bristol, where you’d save £1.50 on average, as well as the Scottish capital Edinburgh, where you’d make a small but significant saving of 6%.
The welsh capital Cardiff just about struck the balance, with only a 5p difference between the two services on average. That means either option is a sound choice if you’re visiting the city
On the other hand, the old wisdom of ‘Uber is cheaper’ did ring true in many locations. There was a saving of around 23% in Belfast
when customers opted for the app-based service.
Uber was by far the better choice in a handful of cities. Those looking to get around in Leeds
would see a £1.90 saving across a one-mile journey, while over in London
that rises to as much as £4.30. It was in the capital that Uber offered the biggest saving of all; at an average of 46% less than the city’s famous Hackney carriages. Uber vs Black cabs: by night
Of course, those familiar with the Uber app will be well aware of the ‘surcharges’ applied to the service during busy periods. These can see your fare increased to as much as 3x the usual cost. Similarly, black cabs usually set separate ‘night rates’. Comparing these with an average Uber surcharge of 1.4x, we worked out which option will give you the better price if you’re heading out on the town in our 20 UK & Ireland cities.
When we took Uber surcharges into account, traditional Hackney carriages fared even better – working out as the better value option in exactly half of the locations we studied.
Once again, there were great savings in Dublin, where Hackney carriages were 53% more affordable than the alternative. That’s in stark contrast to Leeds, where your typical Uber was 57% cheaper by night, representing a saving of £4.72 on a one-mile journey.
There was little in it in cities like Glasgow
, Newcastle, York and Birmingham. Meanwhile in the capital, Uber was still the better value by night, but the gap had closed significantly compared with the daytime rate. With only a £2.06 fare difference in the small hours, it might be worth jumping in a black cab if your Uber driver isn’t showing up.
Whether you choose Uber or a black cab, it’s never been easier to get around the UK’s biggest cities. Start exploring them today when you stay with Jurys Inn