London Taxis

The iconic black cab remains a common sight. They are driven by the only taxicab drivers in the world who have spent at least three years learning the city inside out to gain 'The Knowledge'. All London taxicabs are licensed by TfL's Public Carriage Office (PCO), who also set taxicab fares along with strict maximum vehicle emission standards.

From iconic London black cabs to local minicabs, we've got all the information you need to help you travel around London by taxi.

London's Black Cabs
Complete your London experience with a ride in a black cab! London's classic black cabs also come decorated in a dazzling palette of colours these days. Black cabs can be hailed in the street or at designated ranks situated in prominent places, including many mainline rail, Tube and bus stations. They can also be booked by telephone.

If the yellow TAXI sign at the front is illuminated, the cab is available for hire. Black cabs are legally obliged to take on any job for journeys up to 12 miles (20 miles for cabs at the Heathrow Airport taxi ranks), or up to one hour duration.

London Cabs Fares and Tips

Fares are metered, and there is a minimum charge of £2.20. Black cabs are licensed to carry up to five people (six in the special Metrocabs and Mercedes Vitos) plus luggage. There are no additional charges for extra passengers or items of luggage.

There is a £2.40 charge when you take a black cab from Heathrow Airport and also a £2 charge when you book a black cab by telephone.

Many black cabs accept payment by credit or debit card but check with the driver before the trip starts. If you pay by card there is an additional charge of a maximum of £1 or 12.5% of the metered fare, whichever is greater. You can tip taxi drivers as much as you like, but most people round up to the nearest pound.

London Black Cab Accessibility
All black cabs are wheelchair accessible and carry assistance dogs at no charge. Most taxis have a variety of additional aids for travellers, including:
    * Ramps
    * Swivel seat
    * Intermediate step
    * Seat sight patches
    * Large coloured grab handles
    * Intercom
    * Induction loop

Licensed Private Hire Vehicles and Minicabs in London

Private hire covers a wide range of services, from local minicab companies to chauffeur driven limousines.

Private hire vehicles and minicabs must be booked at an office, by telephone or email. Reputable, licensed minicab companies can offer a cheaper alternative to the black cab. While their fares are generally reasonable, they are not on a meter, instead you should ask how much the trip will cost when you make a booking.

If you want to book a private hire vehicle or minicab by telephone then most hotels and hostels will have a list of reputable, licensed operators. You will also find minicab offices on most high streets.All licensed private hire vehicles have a distinctive Transport for London licence disc in the front and rear windscreen.

You can check with Transport for London to see if an operator is licensed or use Cabwise and Findaride to book a licensed minicab (see links below).

Licensed Private Hire Vehicles Accessibility
A wide range of cars are used as private hire vehicles and when you make a booking you should check with the operator whether their vehicles meet your accessibility requirements.

Private hire vehicles carry assistance dogs at no extra charge.

Stay Safe in London

Unbooked minicabs are illegal. You may be approached by minicab drivers seeking passengers or offering a service; avoid this as these are unsafe, unlicensed, uninsured and illegal and you put yourself in danger if you use these services.

Booking your minicab with a licensed minicab company guarantees that your trip will be carried out by a licensed driver in a licensed vehicle. It also means that a record is kept of your journey, your driver and the vehicle used. Therefore, in the event of any problems, the driver can be traced.

Only taxis (black cabs) can be stopped by customers and can pick up off the street. Even minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs are breaking the law if they accept your fare without a booking being made first.

Many clubs have licensed minicab operators inside who can take your booking. Check with staff to see if a minicab service is available.

Stay Safe with Cabwise - Transport for London's Text Service
Text CAB to 60835, and you'll receive two minicab numbers and one taxi (black cab) number straight back to your mobile phone by text. You don't even need to say where you are as your location is plotted using GPS. So save 60835 to your mobile now and it'll be there whenever you need it.

Text charged at 35p per enquiry plus standard text message rate. Roaming rates apply to overseas networks. Customers on the 3 network need to enter different information. See tfl.gov.uk/cabwise for further details.

London Taxis - Useful Information