(EDIT: November 2014. Both of the codes in this article are still working OK so please use them!)
If you will be in London for a day or two over the Summer, don’t forget that I have sign-up bonuses available for Wheely – the private driver car service – and GetTaxi, the black cab app.
You can download and activate these apps (all need a credit card number adding) before your trip and then simply start them up whenever you need a car.
Once your free credit is used up, charges, including tips with GetTaxi, are made directly to your credit card so no cash is required.
GetTaxi is the ‘number two’ in the smartphone taxi-ordering market in London, behind Hailo.
One advantage of GetTaxi over Hailo is that there is NO minimum fare (apart from 10am-5pm weekdays, Hailo has a minimum) and NO cancellation fees. This can be an issue with Hailo as you may want to cancel a job when, after claiming your nearest cab is 3 minutes away, your job is actually picked up by a driver 15 minutes away! (You do get a one minute window with Hailo in which to cancel after the job is accepted before the fee kicks in.) GetTaxi also allows you to book a taxi in advance.
To claim your £10 free credit, download the app and (once you have verified your mobile phone number) click on the ‘Coupon Code’ box on the menu. (A quick way of downloading the app if you are reading this on your phone is to click here and then click on the appropriate Android or iOS button.)
In the ‘Coupon Code’ box – which is on the personal details menu – enter code GTROBER387. £10 of credit will be dropped into your account.
One quick warning. After you’ve signed up, GetTaxi will email or text you a £5 coupon code. Do not input this into the app, as it will invalidate the £10 code if you haven’t already used it. If you have already used the £10 code, the £5 code will not work anyway.
I have used GetTaxi a few times in recent weeks and it works well. They have fewer drivers that Hailo so you may find yourself waiting a bit longer for a driver to get to you – possibly quite a bit longer outside Central London – but apart from that the service and structure is identical.
Wheely is a new competitor to Uber. It offers an equivalent service to UberX (with Toyota Prius) and UberExec (with Mercedes E-Class cars). It announced last week that it is also rolling out a Mercedes S-Class luxury service although there are only a handful of cars currently available.
If you sign up with this Wheely sign-up code here you will receive a £10 credit on your first ride.
The USP of Wheely is flat rate pricing. You need to input your destination when booking and you are quoted a fare in advance. This fare is fixed however bad the traffic conditions on the way.
The problem with Wheely at the moment is lack of vehicles. Their own website quotes an average waiting time of 14 minutes. At the time of writing (2pm on a weekday) it is quoting 18 minutes to get to me on Regent Street. This is not ideal if you are looking for a quick getaway but as long as you factor in waiting time then it will save you £15.