‘£75 from Waterloo to Zone 3’: Londoners complain of extortionate Uber fares with absence of Night Tube

‘This was possibly the most difficult experience getting home and quite off-putting in spending an evening in central London while trains and tubes are still not running a normal service.’

Londoners have blasted cab app companies - such as Uber and Bolt - for extortionate fares and longer waiting times, compounded by the Night Tube not running.

With the Night Tube out of action until November 27 - when the Central and Victoria lines are returning - Londoners are depending more than ever on app services such as Uber, Bolt and Lyft to get home.

Tony Pullen, a building services engineer from Mortlake, Richmond, was shocked to see a quote for £75 when requesting an Uber home from central London.

“As the evening started to draw to a close I started to check train times and I noticed that I had missed my last train home by about five minutes from Waterloo,” the 35-year-old told LondonWorld.

“I decided I would get a Bolt, which is often much cheaper than Uber, but no one was picking up my request after trying time and time again.

“I think Bolt was offering the journey home for around £40 but pretty pointless if nobody accepts your request.

“So I decided to check Uber.

The Uber app. Photo Illustration by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

“I was shocked to see a quote of £75 to Mortlake, which is in zone 3.

“That was far more than I had even spent that evening.

“As I was so annoyed at the price and knowing a night bus would take almost two hours to get home, I decided I would start walking towards home and check Uber again from a different location.

Tony walked for about 30 minutes to Vauxhall, which he says was “probably not the best idea”, before trying again.

“This time Uber quoted £30,” he explained.

“As it was now approaching 1am and it was starting to rain I decided to request an Uber and accept the £30 charge.

“It finally took about five to six attempts at requesting the Uber before one picked up.

“I’ve worked in central London for 15 years and even at times much later I’ve always found an easy route home whether through night tubes, later running national rail trains or Ubers, when the charge was only about £20-25 pre-pandemic.

“This was possibly the most difficult experience getting home and quite off-putting in spending an evening in central London while trains and tubes are still not running a normal service or even at all.

“Very frustrating.”

Natasha Petrou, a 26-year-old musician from Tufnell Park.

Natasha Petrou, a musician from Tufnell Park, Camden, says she ends up spending all of her night’s earnings on getting home safely.

“It’s been increasingly difficult to get home from nights out due to Uber’s extortionate prices,” the 26-year-old told LondonWorld.

“A mile and a half journey could set me back nearly £30.

“During the day it isn’t a problem, but when it’s 2am and you’ve already been catcalled multiple times while waiting for a bus that isn’t coming, it isn’t very appealing to walk by yourself unprotected.

“As a musician I rely on Uber to get me home from my gigs safely, as I am often carrying heavy and expensive equipment.

“Even though my home location is fairly close to where I perform, I always end up spending every bit of money I earn that night on my Uber fare home, which seems to defeat the purpose.

The Night Tube is returning, it has been confirmed.

“It’s so frustrating that as women we don’t have the option to just walk home, it is barely safe for us during the day but at night people seem to think women are fair game to intimidate, harass, and attack.

“Being on the night tube, where there is CCTV and other people, provides us with some protection at least.”

The Night Tube service on the Victoria and Central lines are set to return on November 27, and a London Overground line on December 17, but there has been increasing pressure to get the night time service back running on all original overnight lines.

Transport for London said that the Night Tube was suspended during the pandemic because drivers were needed for the Tube service during the day, where demand has been higher.

London Underground was also impacted by staff absences due to the major disruption caused by the pandemic at a time when Tube ridership dropped by over 90 percent.

Uber said it hopes to resolve their issues by recruiting 20,000 new drivers and improving workers’ rights.

The company announced in March that 70,000 drivers will be treated as workers, earning at least the National Living Wage, with paid-for holiday time.

Those eligible will be automatically enrolled into a pension plan.