It’s a situation most Londoners will find themselves in. After getting a little carried away at post-work drinks on a Friday evening, you have missed the last tube home and are stranded in central London in your work attire with a box of 20 cold Chicken McNuggets. At this point, you face the choice of either getting a taxi, braving the night bus or if you are lucky enough, you can walk home.
Except from Friday 19th August, there will be a new, better option. Transport for London will be launching the revolutionary and long awaited Night Tube (TFL), adding to the incredible 1.34 billion journeys already made each year (TFL). There will be tubes available every 10 minutes over Friday and Saturday nights on the Central and Victoria lines, with many others to join in autumn.
Naturally, we are really excited with this news. Not just because of the convenience of getting home at any hour of the weekend, but also because of the amount of money we could save instead of getting an Uber home.
We decided to see just how much we would have saved on Uber, had the Night Tube been available for the last 12 months.
How often do we use Uber?
We asked our colleagues to share with us their Uber journey history. They did this (and you can do it too!) using an open-source web scrapping tool called Uber Data Extractor.
17 of our London-based colleagues, mostly millennials, who had often found themselves in the aforementioned predicament, provided us with their Uber history.
So, how often do we use Uber? Our admittedly small sample size reveals that it’s more than we thought.
A simple box and whisker plot reveals that our median user used Uber 32 times over the last year, with an average amount spent of £463. Our lazier colleagues used it nearly 100 times in a year; with a total spend of over £1,300. I understand that they have since strongly considered deleting the app.
When do we use Uber?
Between us there were 481 journeys made in London. We split these journeys up by the time they were made, to reveal more about our Uber habits, segregating the weekday journeys and weekend journeys.
While the total journeys made peak between 20:00 and 03:00, it’s clear to see that there is a difference in behaviour on the weekend and on weekdays. The large grey area reveals that Uber usage peaks during the Night Tube hours. When we look at the total amount spent, it’s obvious that this is where the damage is being done for our sample.
The surcharge associated with peak times for Uber has hit our sample users, with Uber journeys between 00:00 and 04:00 accounting for our 50% of the total spend on weekends.
How much could we have saved?
Of our 481 journeys made in London, how many of them coincide with the new Night Tube hours?
88 of our 481 Uber journeys over the last year could have been made using the Night Tube instead. Let’s assume that every one of our sample decided to get the Night Tube instead of getting an Uber.
Deducting £2.80 for each journey, for the price of a trip from Zone 1 to Zone 3, our sample of 17 would have saved an average of £73 over the course of the last year. Of course, it all depends on your current user habits. Our ‘laziest’ colleague would have saved £209 if the Night Tube was available to him. Which works out to 48 boxes of 20 Chicken McNuggets.
With the added incentive to stay out later on Friday and Saturday nights, it seems that £73 wouldn’t go very far. In fact, I would feel confident in saying that I will end up spending more as a result of the Night Tube.
On the face of it, financially there is an incentive to take Night Tube home but you do lose out on a door to door service, a comfortable seat and the ability to sleep without fear of missing your stop.
It quite likely that companies like Uber will feel the impact of this change. There will also be an impact on restaurants and bars. We know that the bars near the Capgemini office will be delighted with the Night Tube.