Updated: Oct 2, 2022
The well-heeled London borough of Wandsworth is the capital’s most miserly when it comes to tipping taxi drivers, fare data has revealed.
Payment app Lopay analysed 57,816 fares paid to more than 2,000 taxi and minicab drivers in the capital and found that just 1 in 5 passengers alighting in Wandsworth’s wealthy enclaves tipped their driver — barely half the figure recorded in top-tipping Hillingdon.
According to Lopay’s data, London’s worst tippers were Wandsworth, where just 21.3% of passengers added a gratuity to their fare, followed by Barnet (22%), Greenwich (22%), Brent (22.5%) and Westminster (23%).
Top tippers were Hillingdon (38%), Havering (35%), Lewisham (34%), Hounslow (33%) and Richmond (30%). The generosity of taxi customers alighting in Hillingdon may stem from the fact that the West London borough is home to Heathrow airport, so the data includes high numbers of air passengers carrying luggage.
The figures come as London cab drivers face a growing number of threats to their livelihoods. Transport for London’s Finance Committee recently heard that the number of licensed taxis in the capital has plunged by a quarter since 2020, as the post-pandemic shift to hybrid working erodes passenger numbers.
Prime Minister Liz Truss and her newly appointed Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng own homes 350 yards apart on a millionaires’ row in West Greenwich, while Truss supporter Lord Frost and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly are also within walking distance.
Intriguingly, Lewisham — seen by many as Greenwich’s shabbier cousin — was among the capital’s top three most generous neighbourhoods, where as Greenwich is left languishing in the bottom three.
Further analysis of the data reveals that the average gratuity paid to drivers across the capital was 10% or £3.10, and that passengers are most likely to leave a tip in the evening, between 7pm and midnight. By contrast, late-night revellers are the least likely to leave a tip, with the worst hours for tipping recorded between midnight and 5am.
Londoners were more likely to tip on weekdays than at the weekend, suggesting that those able to claim their fare back as a work expense may be more generous than those paying out of their own pocket.
Richard Carter, Co-founder of Lopay, said: “Taxis and minicabs are part of the lifeblood of the capital, keeping Londoners and visitors alike on the move. But while London’s black cabs are global icons, earning a living behind the wheel of one is getting steadily harder.
“Tips provide a welcome boost but, as our data shows, they can’t be relied upon. That’s why taxi drivers, like all small businesses right now, need to watch every penny at the point of sale.
“Lopay’s fees are the lowest offered by any payment app. We charge less than half what the big corporate providers do, allowing drivers, traders and any small business to keep more of their money every time they make a sale.
“Liz Truss and her ministerial team may now be using Government limousines to shuttle between Westminster and Greenwich, but taxi drivers who are still fighting for the business of ordinary citizens and grappling with high fuel costs can at least save on their business costs by switching to Lopay.”