There are two types of taxis available in London; traditional Black cabs (also known as taxis), or private hire vehicles which are often referred to as minicabs.
Black cabs are familiar sight in London, and although they’re not super-cheap a taxi ride in London is a treat. Drivers train for two to four years before getting a license. Try picking their brains; they know a lot about London and most are more than happy to share their knowledge.
Taxis or Black cabs
The traditional London taxi or Black Cab (although they now come in a variety of colours) is the most expensive way of getting around town, but they’re affordable for the odd journey if more than 3 people travel together. They’re even cheaper if you’re in a group of 5 — the most they can legally carry.
There’s a minimum fare of £2.40 and a two-mile journey should cost £8.60–£13.80 between 6am and 8pm. Prices increase after 8pm and again after 10pm.
See Transport for London’s (TfL) guide to Taxi fares for more detailed information.
How to find a taxi or black cab
If you’re in a busy part of central London, just stand on the street, stick out your arm, and a cab with its yellow sign illuminated should stop.
Black cabs can also be booked in advance, although you’ll pay extra for the service (and if you’re going to book, it might be cheaper to book a licensed minicab).
All black cabs are metered — you pay at the end of the journey.
Minicabs or private hire operators
A cheaper solution, especially for longer journeys, is to use a licensed private hire vehicle (minicab). These can’t be hailed in the street. You must book by phone or visit their office.
Don’t even think about taking a minicab from someone who approaches you on the street, it’s illegal for them to do this and it might cost more than a black cab. For your own personal safety, only use a licensed minicab.
How to find a licensed minicab
TfL run a scheme called Cabwise. It’s their directory of licensed mini-cab operators. You can search their website for the nearest company by location, street or postcode or download a free app.
Minicabs do not have meters and can charge whatever they like, so it’s worth calling a few before making a booking. Always confirm the fare before getting in a minicab.
If you have a smartphone, download the Kabbee app
Last updated: 10 January 2015