Something very bad has happened: Uber has been banned in London. A generation of bankers who got used to having cheap rides in, out, or after work are going to have to make do with black cabs or... Addison Lee.
If you listen closely, you can hear the squeaks of apprehension.
"There were some audible gasps on my team this morning when we found out," says an analyst at Citi.
"Uber was HUGE in the City," agrees a managing director at one international bank. "All the Americans who come over here are going to be lost without it."
"I use Uber big time," says a vice president (VP) at J.P. Morgan. "This is going to be a problem for sure, especially in my private life."
Some banks (eg. Bank of America) made Uber official transport providers - meaning employees travelling home after late nights in the office could bill the bank for the journey. Others (eg. J.P. Morgan, Nomura) are understood to have stuck with long established brands and black cabs. BAML employees are going to have revert to the old ways.
"Policies across the City generally insist on using licensed black cabs," says a VP at a boutique M&A firm. "Uber is not recommended due to uncertainty over insurance coverage and/or certainty around confidentiality. All the places I know state that corporate usage of Uber is done so at own personal risk."
Most bankers say it's their social life that will suffer: "On the rare night I go out, this is going to make it harder to get home," says one representative specimen at associate level. "With the hours that a lot of us work in this industry, we value our free time quite heavily," says the Citi analyst. "Uber allowed us to travel comfortably and quickly at an affordable price and eliminated the hassle of public transport and lack of signal on the underground. It's going to be a huge shame to see it go!"
"It just got a lot more expensive to get out of Canary Wharf," said another VP from BofA. "Unless you're an executive, in which case you'll have an S-Class waiting and this will make no difference at all."
Of course, there's always the night bus.
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Photo credit: Disgusted Baby by Rachael Towne is licensed under CC BY 2.0.