As a Londoner I have plenty of transport options;-
- Black Cab
- Boris Bike
I am always looking for other cheaper ways to get around the capital and the Citymapper App has launched its own ‘Car Share’ service.
What is Citymapper?
Citymapper is an App for iOS & Android that lets you plan journeys around a city using ALL of its public transport network.
It doesn’t cover ALL cities but it does cover (currently) 39 cities across the world including, Sydney, Hong Kong, New York and Stockholm. This list keeps growing so it might well include a place you are visiting soon.
It does have a website interface if you want to see how it works. You can access it without logging in.
However, you will find it more useful once you have the app downloaded.
If you’ve used UberPool then you will be experienced with Citymapper Ride. It used to be known as ‘Smart Bus’ and how Citymapper ran it was they had a series of vehicles that followed an exact route between places they knew had people wanting to travel (they get all this data from their app). Imagine a set of taxis that ran from Kings Cross down to Waterloo and they took a fixed route every time.
Using the Citymapper App you could ‘hail’ the smart bus and it would reserve you a seat. The difference between a normal taxi and the Smart Bus was that you would go meet it at a ‘smart bus stop’ – a place where the smart bus could pull over safely – rather than it comes to you.
This has now developed from a couple of fixed routes, north/south & east/west, to covering a whole load of zone 1 London and beyond. I’ve taken a CitymapperRide from Farringdon to Stoke Newington so it isn’t just the most popular routes.
When is Citymapper Ride Active?
Citymapper Ride is not a complete Taxi replacement. Its designed to help people get round the city so does have a timetable it does run to.
- After 4pm Monday-Friday – Until Late
- After 11am Saturday – Until Late
It doesn’t run on Sundays at all and although it could run in the mornings I think it has made a good decision to not go for that share of the market. Citymapper Ride is cheaper than some other forms of transport in the city but what you’ll find is it will take slightly longer. The pay-off for a reduced cost is an increase timeframe as it isn’t a door-to-door service like a normal taxi is.
Citymapper Ride – Area Covered
Helpfully the app automatically knows what areas are covered. It goes south to Balham, west to North Acton, north to Harringay Green Lanes and east to Poplar. Its not a square though so certain locations aren’t within the bubble.
Citymapper Ride – Discount Code
You can get £5 off your first ride by using my code ‘antoine8cw‘. I will also get a £5 discount against my next journey. If you’ve already downloaded the app then adding my discount code is easy. You can even do it if you’ve already been using Citymapper to get around, as long as you’ve previously used someone-else’s code.
Once you start using Citymapper Ride you will get your own code that you can share with your friends to get £5 credits each! Share the love and the discounted car journeys!
How Much Actual Ride-Sharing Do You Do?
I’ve been using this feature of the Citymapper app for ages, when it was first called ‘Smart Bus’. When it was the Smart Bus I was collected in a Mercedes Vito-converted van that could sit upto 6 passengers. The most I ever had at once was 2 other passengers and one of those was carrying a guitar in a case! I’m glad we didn’t get anyone else joining us as it would have been a bit cosy.
Since it has become Citymapper Ride I tend to be picked up in a Prius. The drivers are paid for shifts, not fares, so there is no rushing dangerously between destinations but it does mean they have to follow a route given to them by Citymapper. They have told me that they can carry upto 3 passengers – two in the back and one in the front seat.
In all my time getting these Prius’s I’ve never once shared a ride. Its a great thing for me at the time but I do worry that maybe not enough people are using the app and they might remove the service completely. I hope they don’t!
The app gives you a cost comparison when you use it. My experience has been I’ve been doing journeys that would cost £20/25 in a black cab, £15 in an Uber and using Citymapper Ride I’d pay between £5-£6. Occasionally it has been £9 for very long journeys. This has always worked out cheaper than normal taxi fares and also always been cheaper than UberPool by a long way.
The risk is that you might share a car with someone, but I’m happy that so-far I’ve not had to share a single recent ride with anyone.
The Reverend’s Final Thought
If you are looking for a cheap way to travel around London in the late afternoon/evening then Citymapper Ride is an economical way to do this. If there is a group of you it isn’t the cheapest way to travel (Uber and even black cabs can be cheaper if you are working out the cost-per-person) but for lone travelers, or even 2 people traveling together (you pay £1 per extra person traveling with you), it can often still be the cheapest.