Where are the Best Places to Pick Up Uber Riders?
Too many taxis and not enough riders at Heathrow.
Many traditional hot spots for taxi riders no longer valid.
For good business, PHV drivers need to look elsewhere.
Events guides and city listings are good information sources.
Private driver networks can share info on unpublicised gatherings.
Big stores, discount supermarkets, hospitals, medical centres all good.
As Heathrow Reaches Taxi Overload, Where are the Riders Now?
If you’ve been a professional driver long enough, you’ll remember when travellers hoping for a taxi at Heathrow Airport queued around the terminals. Taxis were in short supply and riders were abundant. Not so anymore. The rise of convenient and more economical alternatives to expensive Black Cabs such as Uber have reversed the rules of supply and demand. Now taxis are too plentiful, and the airport has reached overload.
In its latest move to reduce the problem, Heathrow Taxi Management have introduced a rationing system for Black Cab drivers. In a statement issued at the end of May, they said, “Due to over-supply of taxis compared with the demand, it has been necessary to implement a one out, one in policy.” This means that new Black Cab drivers will only be able to join the Heathrow Feeder Park system and receive a Tag and Booster when an existing driver closes their account. It effectively bans new drivers from the airport.
Whilst this news does not change the current situation for PHV drivers, who already wait in designated Heathrow holding areas that can hold up to 700 taxis at a time, it indicates that since the arrival of ride-hailing apps and the weakening of taxi monopolies, the old ways of working as a professional driver are not valid anymore. In short, you can no longer rely on traditional areas for business to keep your income buzzing. So, if that’s the case, what can you do? How do you find abundant riders now?
If airports, rail terminals and big hotels are taxi-saturated, look for other busy spots. Some of the best places to find many riders are temporary and centred on events. Check your city’s entertainment listings for concerts, shows, fairs, exhibitions and sports. You can do this via online magazines like Time Out, which covers most major UK cities, or in city guides and local ‘What’s On?’ pages. Keep a private diary of future events and make sure you’re in the neighbourhood when the shows are on.
Build a network
Some of the more fertile places for riders will be off the public noticeboards. Connect with other drivers to create a private information network. Share tips about unpublicised events or gatherings like big weddings where you know visitors and guests will need a reliable ride home.
Ignore the herd
City centres and big shopping malls are obvious spots for riders. This means they attract too many taxis. Ignore them, hunt for riders where taxis are hard to find. This includes places where people who do not own a vehicle must frequently go. Often, these potential riders arrive by bus, but need a taxi home because of heavy shopping or other hinderances such as post-medical care. Discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl, big sheds like Ikea, hospitals, medical centres, large dental surgeries and even big veterinary centres are all prospective hotspots for this type of rider.