The news on Friday that Transport for London (TfL) had denied Uber an Operator Licence for the capital has stirred up some intense feelings. TfL announced Uber “not fit and proper” to hold a private hire licence and that the company had shown a “lack of corporate responsibility” in relation to public safety. As soon as the judgment was announced the company stated its intention to challenge the ruling in the courts and a petition was launched which is now well on the way to reaching 800,000 signatures. TfL are now saying Uber needs to rethink its approach.
Uber claim that 3.5 million Londoners rely on them to get around London, so we thought that we would look to see exactly where these Londoners are using the App. To do this we used Uber’s own API to get waiting times from 1000 randomly selected locations across Greater London that were within a 50 km radius of Charing Cross and cross referenced it against some known property metrics.
Uber Response Rates
So what did we find? Well overall across the random sample of 1000 covering the most of Greater London, the average response time was 432 seconds, or 7 min 12 seconds, however the attached visualization shows that much like property values, response times lengthened dramatically for a few postcodes the further away from Central London you travelled. This is not so surprising, you would expect more Ubers to be located in the busy central areas.
However what is interesting is that actual response rates were very similar over a much larger area of London than you would expect and pretty fast too, with 2 to 3 minutes not unusual. The second chart shows the average price per square meter for properties in the same postcode areas. So if Uber were just used in central areas, you might expect the same distribution of response times as say, property prices/housing density, but as you can see, it is clearly not. In fact, response times in Outer London are very similar to Inner London and spread quite evenly, suggesting Ubers really are used by Londoners at pretty consistent levels all across the capital.
Uber Response Times Central London vs Outer London Please click the chart above to view our reactive study maps
As the chart above shows, even if you live in outer London (Green) you can have response times that are as fast as the most well served and expensive central areas (Red). So it would be very fair to say that if you are living in the most exclusive part of London, or indeed the cheapest bargain basement, in both cases your access to Uber in London's streets and alleys is about the same. That makes it a egalitarian mode of transport. This, all too often, is not the same for other modes of transportation across the capital that serve Londoners and suggests that TfL will need to rethink as much as Uber will have to smarten up its operations.
If you would like to see where the location you live ranks in London for Uber, or how other areas compare then please feel free to try out this link for our interactive charts on transportation and London property .
An extract of this blog post was written for http://www.jamesdearsley.co.uk/