As the Tube workers take industrial action against their paymasters a whole different battle was brewing on the surface of London’s streets during the strikes.
Commuters resorted to walking, dusting off the old bicycle or throwing their lot in with taxis and ride-hailing apps. Services such as Uber and Hailo were fighting to position themselves as the best way to travel in London.
On Wednesday evening Uber sent out a message encouraging Londoners to rideshare stating “you can split the fare in-app and you’ll be freeing up a car for another commuter. It’s win-win!”
— Uber UK (@UberUK) July 9, 2015
On Thursday however numerous news outlets reported that ride-hailing app Uber’s price surge was implemented as a result of the anticipated high demand.
Charging as much as 2.5 times the normal fare, the firm was accused of capitalising from the crisis – and it all became clear why commuters were encouraged to split their fares.
...and clever Uber! pic.twitter.com/BDDeFvY0OQ
— Tim (@timothe) July 9, 2015
— Fiona Sugden (@FiSugden) July 9, 2015
Tube strikes !! @Uber journeys cost 2.9 times the price ! Ended up paying £46 for a usually £12 journey. Not very happy !!
— Malekie (@maleklabbane) July 8, 2015
— Richard King (@Kingy_Richard) July 9, 2015
Uber argues that “dynamic pricing” helps encourage drivers to get on the road and tackle demand however the service came under fire last year when prices rose by 400 per cent during the Sydney terror siege.
An Uber spokesperson told The Drum: “Dynamic pricing means that Uber can get you a car within minutes if you need one even when there is a tube strike on.
“Drivers work on the Uber platform on a completely flexible basis, as much or as little as they want. During times of peak demand - when demand massively outstrips supply - fares increase temporarily to incentivise more drivers to work on the platform. As soon as the demand drops or supply increase, the price comes back down.”
Hailo and traditional black cab capitalised upon the Uber hike as their rates remained flat.
— Hailo (@Hailo) July 9, 2015
Message to all Londoners Enjoy your 300% uber price hike pic.twitter.com/QE6R8oWoZV
— aceface83 (@Jam55king) July 9, 2015
With uber surge pricing today during the tube strike up to 3x the price, I do hope we are not called expensive anymore !
— LondonTaxiPR (@londontaxi_pr) July 8, 2015
Black Cabs are regulated fares, Uber lets rip with unjustified price hikes. Still support Uber? http://t.co/Qg2C3Sz0UG
— liarpoliticians (@liarpoliticians) July 9, 2015
Hailo told The Drum it has received a 500 per cent increase in prebooked Hailo taxis as a result of the Tube Strike. Demand was double that of even New Year’s Eve, with taxis on Wednesday taking an average of four minutes to arrive.
The firm also shared a Vine displaying how many cars it has on the road.
— Hailo London (@HailoLondon) July 9, 2015
Hailo chief marketing officer Gary Bramall, said: “We’re doing our best to ensure our fleet of 15,000 trusted black cab drivers are available to help our customers navigate around London.
“The best way for customers to ensure peace of mind commuting to work and attending meetings is to use Hailo pre-book during the strike.”
It has been pretty hectic in London as a result of the industrial action, check out how brands - including Hailo - have handled the situation on social media here.