Booze, bedtime and bravado - Why Londoners risk illegal cabs
Nearly one in four (24%) of all Londoners could have risked life and limb by using a cab they knew or suspected was illegal, according to new online research carried out by YouGov for app and online minicab booking service ubiCabs. The survey of nearly 1,300 people across the capital reveals why Londoners use this potentially unsafe method of transport, including:
Nearly half (45 per cent) of Londoners who have used a taxi which they knew/suspected was unlicensed/illegal said the last time they chose illegal services was because there were no other licensed taxis or minicabs available
Nearly a third (29 per cent) said they ‘had too much alcohol to drink and didn’t consider the consequences’
Nearly one third (30 per cent) said ‘it was less hassle’ to take an illegal cab than calling, hailing or queuing for a licensed one
But most Londoners who have taken their chances know they are unlicensed or illegal as only 23 per cent said they didn’t initially realise it was unlicensed.
Of greatest concern are the statistics about the use of illegal cabs by women. The ubiCabs survey revealed that 17 per cent of women have used a known or suspected illegal cab. Furthermore, the last time they used one, over a third (34 per cent) reported that they travelled alone for at least part of the journey. And nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of women who have ever used a taxi/minicab do not usually let their friends or family know they’ve got home safely.
Lorenzo Caffarri, co-founder of ubiCabs, said: “The biggest reason why Londoners use illegal cabs is a perceived lack of availability of licensed services. Yet we know from speaking with minicab firms that up to 45 per cent of licensed minicabs are empty at any one time. What’s missing is matching minicabs working for several firms in one area to that person. Understandably, Londoners don’t want to put too much thought into planning ahead, they just expect to get transport home when they’re ready.”
He added: "Already six per cent of Londoners have used a mobile app for booking a legitimate minicab service. Even though this technology is still new, we believe it’s the future. We only use licensed minicab services, and let people know immediately when one can pick them up and how much it will cost. So this removes the need for anyone to take these risks. ubiCabs technology means that people can share their journey in real time with chosen family and friends on Facebook. Even the most uncommunicative can easily let their family know they’ve got home safely.”
Linda Craig, Director of Suzy Lamplugh Trust said: “Suzy Lamplugh Trust welcomes technological solutions that encourage the public to avoid getting into illegal minicabs. As this study shows, many people take the easiest option when thinking of transport home. Therefore any system that makes taking legal cabs the easiest option will make it safer for everyone.”
ubiCabs’ service is available across Greater London for journeys in and around the capital (including airport runs). Plans to extend ubiCabs to other areas in the UK and further afield are in development. The ubiCabs app is available on Android and iPhone with Blackberry and Windows Mobile apps currently in development. The service can also be used via ubicabs.com.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1292 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st - 6th June 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+).