If you’re lucky enough to have ‘won’ tickets to the Olympics, you’ll have to make your way there. The Tube seems to be keeping up with demand, but if a black cab is more your style, watch out for hefty card charges.
You see, according to Transport for London (TfL) rules, if you’re taking a black cab in the capital, you could be stung with a charge of up to 12.5% if you pay by debit or credit card.
The Tube has actually been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the influx of visitors to the Games. I take the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee line to work, both of which are key routes for the Olympic Park in Stratford, and both have generally been quieter than before the Olympics.
I know not everyone wants to take the Tube. Sometimes a black cab is what you’re after – it’s my grandpa’s chosen form of London transport, and who can blame him at the age of 92?
London black cabs in surcharges ‘rip-off’
But how much more will these surcharges add to your fare? Since a journey from Waterloo to Stratford costs around £25 (dependent on the traffic), paying by debit or credit card would result in an extra £3. For a return trip, that’s £6 more.
It’s much worse if you’re visiting London from abroad – a taxi trip from Heathrow to Stratford will cost around £80 – at 12.5% you’ll have another £10 to pay.
So, if your black cab accepts card payments, you’ll either have to cough up the surcharge, pay by cash (which is what I usually do) or take another form of transport.
Thankfully, after our surcharges super complaint, the government has pledged to ban excessive card surcharges by the end of 2012. And when we questioned TfL about this, it told us it ‘will comply with any new legislation […] in relation to credit card surcharges.’
I’m sure you’ll agree that even if the car that picks you up is Nissan’s luxury NV200 black cab, unveiled today, paying 12.5% more just for the privilege of paying by card is taking the mickey.