Addison Lee & ubiCabs Compared

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We take a look at Addison Lee’s route to the top and assess the challenges they face from cheaper price-comparison apps like ubiCabs. If you’re looking for minicabs in London, this is the information you need.

There’s no doubting the scale of Addison Lee’s cab success, with a Vader-like minicab on every street. We look at the tricks they’ve used along the way, and how new kids on the block, fighters in the so-called taxi app war are planning to overthrow the Add Lee Empire. We’ve even thrown in some arbitrary scoring, just for fun.


The Addison Lee School of Marketing

Lesson 1 – Court the Controversial

While the taxi apps have been spending oodles on PR to get their gospels hallelujahed by the tech evangelists, Addisson Lee have stolen a march by leveraging the considerable talents of Chairman John Griffin. Aside from waking up one morning, sitting down at breakfast and seeing his porridge part to reveal an instruction from on high to start a cab company, you name it, this man has done it when it comes to genius, free PR.

In an illustrious career, Chairman John has successfully garnered attention for:

  • Putting Up Outdoor Ashtrays
  • Annoying John Prescott
  • Taking Down Outdoor Ashtrays
  • Badmouthing Cyclists
  • Taking on Taxi Unions
  • Apologising to Cyclists
  • Forthright Column Writing
  • Going to Court a Lot
  • Frank Apology Writing

A genuine master, whether he’s announcing profits or losing government contracts after making questionable remarks about the two-wheeled community, he gets the story sold. It’s all great for brand awareness. ubiRating: 10/10

And the Taxi App response?

Those PR agencies can’t compare with the PR power of Chairman John. ubiCabs has amassed a sheaf of outstanding reviews, and other taxi apps have been busy too, but even stellar reviews can’t compare with the power of Chairman John. On the face of it, ubiCabs has fantastic ratings for service and price, but in the brand awareness battle, Griffin is golden. ubiRating: 7/10


Lesson 2 – Brand Up Baby

Read the PHV advertising regulations and you get a sense they were written for Add Lee specifically. Maybe they were. Addison Lee taxis lead the way in London when it comes to branding. For years the preserve of the black cabs and denied to the PHV companies, it was Addison Lee who brought branding to minicabs. And they didn’t mess around. The fleet of identical black minicabs, vaguely reminiscent of a horde of Hackney Carriages, is instantly identifiable. What’s more, each bears an eye-catching logo that looks like something out of Tron. Not ground-breaking, but distinguished and widely known. ubiRating: 8/10

And the Taxi App response?

Black cab apps have taken to the streets in full livery, a move that’s really boosted their profile. We haven’t seen much from the minicab side yet, as ubiCabs instead compares prices from a vast number of cab fleets. Getting all of these fleets branded is a pretty massive order, so users have been swapping the cheaper prices of ubiCabs for the brand power of Adison Lee. Meanwhile, ubiCabs continues to increase brand presence through its apps and online taxi booking website. ubiRating: 7/10


Lesson 3 – Forget the Price and Focus on Quality

Addison Lee often receives praise for a consistent level of quality. It comes at a price. One frequent customer bugbear is the expense of booking Adison Lee cabs. Bottled water and company newsletters are all well and good, but increasingly the competition is getting wise to this and replicating the finer points of the Addisson Lee service. Crucially, they’re doing this at a cheaper price, and with ubiCabs able to compare those prices to provide the cheapest taxi quotes to users, people are starting to look for the best of both worlds. ubiRating: 5/10

And the Taxi App response?

Taking advantage of increasing service levels in the minicab industry and using user ratings to separate the best from the rest, ubiCabs is able to compare prices and provide a combination of quality and cheap quotes that’s beyond Addison Lee at this point, especially for airport taxis. Given the size of their organisation Add Lee won’t be sweating yet, but it’s this kind of factor that’s fueling iPhone and Android taxi app growth. ubiRating: 9/10


The Results

Having not really counted, it’s tough to say what the final scores were. Without scrolling back up I’ll guess at a draw. Well played everyone. Bottom line though is that the strengths of Addison Lee are inspiring better competition from the new generation of bookers like ubiCabs, which in some respects are now moving ahead. For a customer, the future’s bright, for companies, it’ll be survival of the taxi fittest. No more late night kebabs for us then.

To find out more about ubiCabs, click to get a quote and find out more.


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