Written by Graham Cutbill-White
For many people, December is a month full of social events, Christmas parties and general celebration. Whether it’s catching up with old friends, painting the town red, or just popping out for a couple of drinks, the festive season is a time when like to let our hair down and relax.
Unfortunately, at some point, the partying has to come to an end and we have to make our way home. As most of us are likely to have had a couple of drinks, we’ll need to a way of getting home safely and legally.
The obvious option for most of us is to grab a taxi or lift share home but this may not always be the ideal option.
At the best of times, black cabs or other taxi services can be expensive but when you’re trying to hail one late at night you can end up forking out a load of money for what is often a short journey.
These late-night cab rides can often end up costing you far more than you’ve spent on the night out itself and are an expense few can comfortably afford at Christmas.
What makes things worse for late night revellers is that over the festive period, taxis and alternatives like Uber drastically increase their prices to generate more profit and compensate drivers having to work late nights at Christmas.
Outside of the world-famous black cabs of London, most taxi firms are licensed by local authority’s which means that there is no set price for a journey and it can differ depending on which part of the country you’re in.
This means that different authorities can increase prices at certain times of the day and year and what’s more, individual cab companies can also add their own increases.
Take Manchester, for example, last year for New Year’s Eve, some taxi firms charged the standard fare plus 30% while others charged fares at time and a half.
These price increases are not just for New Year’s Eve, with many rising prices across the festive period – usually between the 27th December and the 2nd January.
Each area of the country also has a minimum fare increase for the festive period that can be double the usual minimum price. In Cambridge, the standard minimum fare is set at £2.90, this goes up to £4.90 from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Party-goers in Plymouth will see their mum fare increase from £3.00 on a standard day to £6.00 on New Year’s Day.
In London, there is an extra charge on all standard taxi fares of £4 for journeys made between 20:00 on 24 December and 06:00 on 27 December and between 20:00 on 31 December and 06:00 on 2 January 2018.
Across the country, these price increases will differ and if your getting a taxi alone or as a group going a long way, these extra increases can really start to add up.
It’s not just taxis that increase their prices over the holidays. It’s very well known now that the online hire firm Uber has a practice of ‘surge pricing’.
This means that if there is a high demand for rides, say on Christmas or New Year’s Eve, or in a certain location, they will increase the cost of the journey and you will have to pay far more for a ride.
The amount that the prices surge differs depending on how many people needs a lift but a surge can be as much as four times the usual amount. Surge prices are numbered by how much the price is set to increase by so if a surge fare is set to x1.5, a £10 trip will actually cost you £15.
If you’re expecting to pay £25 for a trip home from a night out over Christmas, you could be paying around a hundred pounds for the same trip if the surge increases to expected levels.
Uber claims that they use this ‘dynamic pricing’ model on occasions “When demand outstrips supply” in an attempt to “encourage more drivers to come to the area”.
It’s very likely that over Christmas and New Year’s, Uber will surge prices, so you could end up having to pay a lot more than you expect to get home.
Whether it’s a black cab, private hire taxi, or an Uber you’re planning on hiring this Christmas, these extra charges could cost you a lot of money, especially if you’ve got a couple of events lined up.
Of course, you can always spend your evenings standing out in the cold waiting for an expensive ride home, but there is another option which could save you time and money.
A fast, flexible, and affordable way of getting home after a night is to insure a friend or family member to drive your vehicle home with temporary car insurance.
It’s quick and easy to get a policy. Simply enter some simple details about the vehicle and the person using the vehicle and you’ll get presented with a range of quotes from our panel of insurers.
Click the quote you want and then you’re just a few taps away from cover. Policies can be bought at any time online and once you’ve purchased your policy, your certificate of insurance are emailed to you instantly so there’s no waiting around.
You can get an hourly policy if you just want to insure someone to drive the car home or you can get longer cover (up to 28 days) if you want cover over the Christmas period.
Temporary insurance is simple and straightforward to purchase and can help in a range of different situations.
If you’re just trying to get home, have a visitor who needs to get around over Christmas, or have a long journey planned and want to share the drive, you can find a policy that suits your own individual situation.
Find out how much you could save with temporary car insurance by getting a quote in minutes online.