Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Comparing the Uber and Blacklane car service in London


So in London last week, living a #Travelife, I finally got to try Uber.

Yes, until a few days ago, I was probably one of the few people on this planet who still had not used Uber although I use the Blacklane service a lot all over the world, finding it reliable and just as good -- if not better -- than hiring a car from my hotel.


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BLACKLANE IS CHEAPER
THAN A HOTEL CAR
AND USUALLY JUST AS NICE

Blacklane is definitely cheaper than the hotel option as well, although it's pricier than getting a taxi in most places. But then again, Blacklane usually has great cars for the "business class" option, so you can't really compare it to a taxi service.

I've used Blacklane everywhere, and most of the cars have definitely had that wow factor for a car hire.

A couple of times, a Benz S class has come to pick me up somewhere in the world. Also, you never get the impression that Blacklane drivers are just moonlighting or going from job to job, unlike with some Uber drivers apparently, as they always act very professional.

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TAKING A CHANCE ON UBER

But in Manila the weekend before I left on my long summer holiday in Europe, I had dinner at the home of an old friend, and she and her husband and I sat up talking till early morning.

She uses Uber and with great satisfaction, and she convinced me to try it for the first time in London.

FIGURING UBER OUT FOR MYSELF

My companion in London was even more hopeless about Uber than I was, never having tried it and not intending to, so I was left to download the application and to figure it out for a trip to Victoria Station from our hotel. 

Fortunately, the porters at Cafe Royal, our hotel in London, were very solicitous when I told them we were using Uber for the first time, so they even went out into the street to look for the car I'd hired.

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I'd pressed Uber X by mistake, thinking this was the luxury option, when it turned out to be the budget option.

Fortunately a decent Toyota Prius came to pick us up and the trip to Victoria Station cost something like eight pounds.


LOOKING FOR A CAR TO DOVER

Needing a longer hire to get to Dover from London a few days later, we looked at Uber again as our other option was a hotel car for something like 320 pounds.

Meanwhile, Uber was estimating charges of 300 pounds on their luxury car and 200 pounds on a regular car. The budget option was going for 130 to 150 pounds.

This was when I said: "My goodness. For those prices, I'd rather take Blacklane."

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THE BENEFITS OF BLACKLANE

Blacklane was charging something similar to the regular Uber car service, but with Blacklane, you usually get an immaculate Benz with a well-dressed, well-mannered driver.

By the time we started looking in earnest for a car to Dover, it was a little too late to book them, as we were scheduled to leave in 90 minutes.

CALLING GERMANY FROM LONDON
FOR A CAR TO DOVER

So instead we called the Blacklane head office in Germany from London to book a car -- talk about the really long route here -- but within the hour everything was sorted out.

At 1145 AM, as requested, a well-mannered driver in an immaculate Benz indeed came to pick us up, and I was right on my way to another chapter in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.

Verdict: Uber is alright for short distances, but I'll take Blacklane for long distances anytime.


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