IT’S your typical late night problem: you need to get from A to B but the Tube is closed, night buses are a nightmare, it’s too far to stumble home and you’d never dream of straddling a bike. Well, I’ve got the solution for you and it doesn’t involve a hitchhiking horror story.
New York is famous for those mustard yellow cabs that cater for all the busy city-goers and late-night stragglers roaming around the city. The London alternative are these no less iconic black, boxy time capsules fit for your turn of the century English gentleman.
With doors that open backwards, seats that face inwards and enough room in the back to stash a spare bail of hay, there’s no doubting these cabs are an ultra cool blast from the past. But while great to get your instagram on, they certainly don’t come cheap, so unless you’ve got a bit of cash to throw around they’re probably not your wisest way home.
Of course if that does so happen to be your case (no, we’re not at all jealous) do mind the front door. Most cabs don’t have a passenger seat, just a door, and drivers tend to get antsy if you try opening it even if all you’re meaning to do is ride shotgun.
At the other end of the price scale but equally as photo friendly are rickshaws. It’s just like taking a romantic horse and carriage ride through Hyde Park except that instead of a carriage you’ve got a two by four on some wheels, and instead of a set of thoroughbreds and a driver you’ve got a muscular man on a bike. Oh and did I mention you’ll be weaving your way through London’s never-ending traffic? But rickshaws are load of fun especially if you happen to flag down a seriously pimped-out one – how do gold plates, zebra-print seats and blaring music sound for your ride home? Price is usually negotiable.
However if you’re not up for such a wild ride home, a more practical, albeit less exciting, solution are minicabs. Minicabs are normal, usually unmarked cars that you can book like a regular cab, minus the hefty price tag. As many a tube train ad has warned us, the issue with jumping into an unmarked cab is an obvious one, how do you know you’re getting into a minicab and not some shady man’s candy filled van?
Quite simply really, just don’t get into any old car that pulls up to the side of the road offering you a ride. Always book your minicab and wait for them to call for you – use your common sense and you should get home in one piece.
For more info and tips on transporting your way through London, check out Bianca’s new book, “An Aussie’s Survival Guide to London” at talktraveltome.com; tackling the little problems for newcomers to London.