As well as having their own rich history (see Taxi ~ # 1) London black cabs also have their own slang.
'Arnie' - 'I'll be back!' - meaning the driver is not yet going home.
B & B - a routine check by the police ( i.e. of a driver's green badge and his license, known as a bill)
Bilker - a customer the driver suspects to do a runner (get out of the cab) without paying.
Blue Lights - police dealing with an incident.
Blue Trees - a policeman hiding behind a tree or lamppost with a speed gun.
Broom - a job the driver passes on to the next cab in the rank as he doesn't want it.
Butterfly - a part-time cabbie, who only works in nice weather.
Canary - a driver with a yellow badge, meaning he can only work in the suburbs.
Carpet - £3.00
Ching - £5.00
Churchill - a meal; Winston Churchill is said to have given cab drivers the right to refuse a fare if
they are eating.
Droshky - a taxi.
Full House - a full complement of passengers.
Hickory - hickory-dickory-dock ( i.e. clock, meaning the meter).
Legalled - receiving the correct far but no tip.
Mexican Wave - a pavement full of potential fares holding up their hands.
Oner - a long job, paying £100.00.
Penguin - a passenger going to or being collected from a formal event.
Scab - a minicab.
Set - an accident
Single Pin - solo passenger.
Stalking - working with the meter off.
Suit - city gent.
London's iconic black cab has a surprisingly ancient history. The now defunct Corporation of Coachmen first secured a charter to ply for hire in London in 1639, the word 'cab' coming from the French, 'cabriolet de place'.
Cabs, at first, failed to attract the right kind of customer, despite being licensed by Parliament. In 1694 a group of women travelling through Hyde Park in one were so badly behaved that cab drivers were banned from driving their cabs through royal parks for the next 230 years.
Cabbies had a reputation for getting drunk and behaving badly, so much so, that a number of Victorian philanthropists paid for distinctive dark green cab shelters to be built where cab drivers could stop for lunch. The consumption of alcohol was forbidden in these shelters, along with any talk of politics. There were originally sixty-four of these shelters and around a dozen still survive today.
London's first mechanically driven taxi's made their appearance in the 1890s, but they were electric rather than powered by petrol. The novelty value of these new cabs was enormous, but they were so heavy, due to the weight of their batteries, that the horse-drawn cabs were much quicker. It took nearly sixty-years before the motorised taxis finally ruled the road.
The official name of a black cab is a 'Hackney Carriage', which comes from an old French term, 'haquenee', meaning an ambling horse or nag.
The taximeter was invented in 1891 and was introduced in London in 1907, it showed the distance travelled in the cab in order to prevent arguments with the driver about the cost of the fare, and gives the cab its familiar name.
Long after horse drawn cabs were gone, London cabbies were still governed by a number of weird rules and regulations dating back hundreds of years. For years, cabs had to be designed with a space next to the driver for a bale of hay, and enough headroom in the back of the cab to accommodate a man in a top hat, this rule was finally abolished in 1976.
Some of the old laws concerning cabs are still in existence today, but are not usually enforced. Did you know that . . .
. . . It is technically a breach of the law to hail a cab by shouting 'Taxi!' at a moving vehicle. You are supposed to go to a cab rank or what the rules quaintly define as 'a place appointed'.
. . . Cab drivers are allowed to answer the call of nature 'against the rear wheel of the vehicle, and in a seemly fashion'. In theory, any taxi driver embarrassed about doing this can ask a policeman to shield them with his cape.
. . . Taxi drivers are also forbidden to carry passengers who admit to having a notifiable disease such as bubonic plague or smallpox, and can refuse to pick up anyone they suspect of having such a disease.
. . . Cabbies also have to avoid driving too slowly. If they do they can be charged with loitering. If they are caught speeding within London's Square Mile they can be charged with 'driving too furiously'.
Although modern black cabs look pretty much the same, the classic London black cab was the old Austin FX4, which was introduced in 1958 and remained in production until 1996.
Has a black taxi driver who spent over 4 years learning all the necessary information that it takes to become a famous black cab driver , i would like to share with you the understandings of our job.
not everyone is cut out to be a "cabbie" in fact out of every 20 people that apply and are accepted on the famous " knowledge" only 3 people go on to be successfull. this is because the training takes over your life you have to study everyday for 10 -12 hours learning /visiting in excess of over 25000 different places of interest .you also have to have the right atitude to be a taxi driver or the authoriies (kick you out)
most times a black cab driver will "duck n dive" through a multitude of side streets to get you to your destination . this is because it is the shortest route and is reflected in our training. so please dont think we are taking the long route!
We do not do one exam but several . We cannot buy the licence . it has to be studied for and can easily be evoked if need be
we pride ourselves on our knowledge and giving an honest accountable service to tourists and
. londonders alike thats why we are the best in the world.
thanks for reading
Taxi transportation around London are an expensive way to ride, but along your stay in the metropolis you must take it one time at least, because of the charming and old atmosphere of those cars, large, comfortable and (in my case) with kind drivers as well.
Originally known as a Hackney Carriage back in 1662 when the first horse and carriage was licensed ( probably got it's name from the London suburb of Hackney). In the 19th century most carriages were second hand, sold by the rich when they purchased a new one, but the first motorised cabs appeared on the streets in 1901. Originally all the cabs were black but nowadays they are different colours and some bear advertising which make the cabs look ridiculous. The cabs can pick up passengers from the street and there are now 21,000 operating in London, all by drivers who have to pass a strict test showing their knowledge of London streets and buildings.
When you hail a cab the minimum fare will be £2.40, then the metre takes account of time of day, distance travelled and time taken. A driver cannot refuse a passenger if the distance is less than 12 miles, or less than an hour's drive in Greater London, nor can he refuse a fare from Heathrow Airport if it is less than 20 miles.
Heathrow Airport to Central London runs from £45- £83 depending on circumstances.
A 4 mile ride taking between 15 minutes to 30 minutes should cost £15-£27, so think twice before getting a cab. Minicabs will be cheaper but you must book from an office who will quote the fee before hand.
The cost of advertising on a black cab is £160 a month, that is to have the advert placed on the car for a minimum of three months and i guess the advertising company would pay the owner of the black cab too!!
They can be a bit expensive, but the sight of a London Black Cab with it light on, to indicate that it is available for hire, is a welcome sight when the shoe leather finally wears out.
See one with its light on and just flag it down in the street.
Like taking a yellow cab in New York, the Black Cab has to be taken a least once in your trip.
They can be quite difficult to find late night, but are much safer than the dodgy uninsured mincab drivers.
Are London "black cab" taxis expensive compared to public transport? Not from my experience.
Arriving with the Eurostar at St Pancras International to join my hotel near Tower Hill I would have to walk with my luggage 7 minutes (according to the Transport for London Journey Planner) to reach King's Cross St.Pancras Underground Station with stairs because of "Reduced escalator service".
There I would have to take the Circle Line towards Tower Hill Underground station (average journey time 15 mins). At Tower Hill there are again stairs and then walk 3 mins to my hotel. Total minimum time: 25 minutes. Price cash ticket: 4£.
The taxis are waiting outside St Pancras International and I got one immediately. The black cab took 25 mins (Friday & Monday in August; less traffic because vacation) and did cost 13 £.
Shall I add that there are works on various underground lines on WE (Circle line and District line and several others) so that more than half of London underground lines have no service or partial service on WE.
See on their website: www.tfl.gov.uk Line Travel News - Planned Works Calendar.
Let your feet takes you to unknown places -- we certainly did a lot of walking in London. Still confused on how to take the train and the bus, my husband and I hailed cabs which is very expensive and least practical in my opinion and so we have decided to just take a bus near our hotel without exact destination and see where it will lead us... to Kensington Palace :)
way of hiring a cab.
In london there is a double tiered "taxi-cab system" Firstly the famous black taxis, which pick up from the street and secondly a mini-cab system, whereby you have to call a local firm's office to order one in advance. Minicabs are not allowed to pick up off the street, (and now thanks to the mayor's initiative ) have got to be licenced. You'll know what a licenced minicab will look like because they will have a square/diamond sticker at the front and the back of the window.
Taxis charge by distance and time, (whichever arrives first on the automated rate charge) and are generally much more expensive than their mini-cab counterparts who only charge on distance alone, (always ask the mini-cab firm which you order from, to give you a quote) and hence you do not pick up the tab for excess traffic jam's which is the case in the black taxis.
The problem has generally been, where to find mini-cab numbers from in london, and a tip given from a friend on my last trip down from proved particularly useful.
I used the map facility to find not only the firms near where i was staying, but also ones near where my business meetings where held.
It did impress a few people when they asked me "would you like us to call a cab for you",when my reply was "i've got one already on the way".
A new taxi service has been set up in London by women for women. The Pink Ladies drive Renault Kangoos that are pink inside and out, making them highly visible. Passengers sign up as members, and fares are either pre-paid, paid by credit card or with a 'pink account', which is both convenient for members and safe for drivers.
Booking is done over the phone, and a text message is sent to the customer to let her know the vehicle is approaching, which means she doesn't have to wait outside. Drivers are trained in self-defense and will wait outside a customer's home after a drop-off to ensure she gets in safely.
Full details on website
Another way to travel to the airports is by special taxi, well actually its like a van and they pick about 8 people or less from where you stay and takes you to the airport.
This is not a cheap way but sure comfortable as its available 24 hours aday.
The company name is I.L.T. Airports & tours
London taxis should only be used if you use a recognised traditional taxi. These are well run , regulated taxis that are maintained well and the drivers are well trained and will take the shortest route between places. They have to do "the knowledge" - this an intensive training scheme where they must learn all of Londons central streets and routes between them. In reality this is not always the case in practice and although their central London streets they can occasionally be caught out in streets in the suburbs but due to the size of the area this is understandable.
Taxis can be hailed by putting your arm out and indicating to the driver to stop. They can also be pre-booked and the website link has full details.
After having travelled well over 60 countries around the world, i have to say that London is close to being the only place in the world where i enjoy going by taxi.
For some reason they have still managed to keep taxi driving an honorable ob done by people who put pride in to doing it well and not just a bunch of idiots trying to take you for a ride in order to earn an extra buck.
I have taken the black cabs many times in London and have not yet been ripped off.
that is very unusual in my opinion.
I might ad here that i am only talking about the old fashioned black cabs here.
the mini cabs are just the same piece of rubbish that taxi driving is around the world.
Take a black cab in London if you want to be reminded that honest taxi drivers still excist.
I was always told that using the black taxi's are extremely expensive, they are not. We had to use them getting from the station to our accommodation as that was all that was available from Victoria station and it worked out exactly the same as the normal taxi would have costed us.
If you experience a transport strike, an alternative is using a taxi from the Heathrow Airport ie heathrowminicabs.com or heathrowairport-taxi.co.uk The first is tel 0208 574 0868
They have a MINIBUS SERVICE from Heathrow Airport too which is same number 0208 574 0868