I tried Uber's luxurious London competitor Wheely, and it made me think it's possible for money to buy happiness
- Luxurious Russian chauffeur app Wheely launched into London last year.
- CEO Anton Chirkunov said that the company is trying to attract drivers in the capital away from Uber.
- I tried Wheely on two occasions - once from my flat to Gatwick Airport (£75, or $97), and once to Heathrow (£70, or $90).
- It was more like having a personal driver than being in a taxi.
I've lived in London for more than five years, and getting around is officially becoming exhausting.
Over the last few years I've become relient on Uber for when I've been in a rush, carrying a lot of stuff, or just feeling too tired or lazy to get on public transit (which is almost always).However, ever since Uber lost (and then regained) its license in London - and drivers started protests demanding better treatment and an upgrade in employment status - the app seems to have turned a bit chaotic. Lately, Uber rides rarely go off without a hitch, whether it's due to a long wait time, a badly-planned route, or even an unfriendly driver.
What's more, when the company won its license back in June, it was only for 15 months with a clear set of conditions - so the future of the app in the capital remains uncertain.
The company re-launched in London last year with "plans to plough hundreds of thousands of pounds into attracting drivers away from Uber," according to the Financial Times.
When I heard the news, having long wished for an Uber competitor, I decided to give it a go.Wheely may not replace Uber like-for-like - it's certainly more expensive than the standard UberX, and has less drivers in the capital.
However, after using the service twice - once in September from my flat in south east London to Gatwick airport, and a second time in December from home to Heathrow - I had a glimpse at how money can, in fact, buy happiness.
Here's what riding with Wheely is like: