Use black cab taxis only for short journeys inside Central London at daytime. They are cheaper and faster then. For long distances & airport transfers use a licensed minicab. You can always trace the minicab you prebooked especially at night times.
I was always told that the Black cabs were extremely expensive. Yet they charged me less that the "normal" taxi's to get from Victoria Station to my friends flat near Waterloo station. I had to use them with all my luggage, could not face taking the train and then walking the 500 meters to her flat with all that luggage.
Minicabs are private cars and vehicles used as taxis - they are licensed and have depots in which to telephone or arrive in person at the depot to get transport - there has been an issue or there are general warnings not to hail minicabs off the street (as anyone with a car can say they are a minicab and there have been complaints of rapes and assaults - especially women who are drunk leaving nightclubs for transport home alone).
'Kwik Cars' is a firm in my area that I tend to use whenever Ive needed a taxi eg when ended up running late for my travel to an airport and decided I have to go by taxi - either to the trainstation or perhaps to the closest underground tube station or overground train station.
It can also be the cheaper and more convenient option to travel out to your departing airport if there is more than 2 or 3 of you.
London 'black' cabs can still be hailed from the street and have been handy if theyve happened to go past when Ive needed them but this cant be depended on if youre urgent or at a quiet time of the night - plus for long trips they will be a lot more costly than a minicab - for shorter trips a Black cab can actually be a lot cheaper (eg £7 from near my place to Clapham Junction vs £12 quote from a minicab company).
Something which I learnt recently, I feel I should pass on. There are 2 main types of taxi in the UK, hackney carriage (black cabs) and private hire minicabs. Hackney carriages are most commonly found in London and can be flagged down or hired from a taxi rank, much like in the way you'd flag down a New York cab. Mini cabs, however, need to be prebooked by telephone or by going to the particular taxi firms office. Mini cabs tend to be more common outside of London so its a good idea to ask in your hotel for some taxi numbers should you need them.
I did not know this and in the past have flagged down mini cabs. Luckily the drivers saw me as a business opportunity and nothing more and I made my way safely but if I had flagged down a bogus taxi, anything could have happened to me.
See the wikipedia link below for more info and photos.
The world famouse Black cab. The starting rate is 2,20£. It´s not so expensive to ride a black cab as I tought it would be, it´s about the same price as in every other big city.
But this is special compared to other citys in the world, you drive on the wrong side and soooooooooooooooooooo much space for your legs, you can almost lay down streched out on the floor.
This is something you must try when you go to London, ride a Black cab.
London Taxis are a fairly expensive way of getting around but should not be dismissed. If you are a small group (up to 5 but check with driver), if you have heavy luggage or if you have restricted mobility they can be a sensible option.
Black Cabs can be hailed in the street or found at a Taxi rank. If the yellow light is ON it indicates that the driver is looking for a fare.
The site quoted will give a rough idea of costs if you can find out the approximate length of your journey. It is usual to give a 10% tip to the driver.
Minicabs offer a good alternative to Black Cab Taxis but never, ever get into an unlicensed one. They cannot be hailed in the street as a black cab can so ask your hotel or check out the site & phone no. below.
Sometimes Minicabs can hold more people than a black cab so they can be a more economical option.
Some people think buses and trains are cheaper than the London Taxi, wrong they are only just about cheaper if you are alone. The minimum fare on the tube is £4.00 each for example a tube journey from Queensway W2 to Marble Arch W1 is 2 stops tube £4.00 taxi £5.00 so if there are 2 of you same ride would be tube £8.00 taxi £5.00. Hey look at 5 people on the same journey £25.00 on the tube £5.00 in the taxi. Come on you lot get real.
When you ride in a London Taxi you are going through history to the age when things were done properly, like to study all the streets of London within 6 mile radius for about 3 years before being let loose. So instead of just taking a picture of the outside of a London Taxi get in and enjoy the best ride you will have, and if other cabbies are like me I will give you a free tour on your journey and let you or your kids sit in the drivers seat for a unique photo.
Visit my website to read the 'History of London taxis' as well as Buses and Tubes and also find the off beat London that awaits you. Read before you go to avoid missing them.
Roger the cabbie.
Black cabs are quite a luxury for most Londeners because it's so expensive. Taxi's can be hailed down wherever you are when you see the orange light on. However it's probably quicker and cheaper to get the tube or walk to where you have to go. They run on a metre which will go up pretty quickly. The minimum fare is £2.20 which will be added as soon as you start your journey and depending how busy the roads are depands on how much you pay at the other end.
Hail one of London's black cabs(some are now multi-coloured)when the yellow 'For Hire' sign is lit. Take note that fares increase after 20.00. Do not get into any vehicle that approaches you in the street purporting to be a mini cab!
after living in london for nearly 20 months and a few frequent visits afterward, 2 years in total, i learnt about this Mini Cab companies!
they driver you anywhere in london at a fixed rate regardless of the traffic jam, and they are safe, cheaper than the black cab, and are just one call away.
i wanted to catch the bus then the tube to heathrow from abbey road, at 5:00 in the morning. my friend told it wouldn't be that safe to risk dragging a suitcase that late. so she recommended to call a mini cab.
a mini cab?
yes, it's not expensive, safe, and pretty practical.
so here we go; i was sent a black mercedes, with a handsome driver - all in the package:D and it took me only 40 minutes to get to heathrow the airport from where i was, at £24 only. i saved money, time and didn't bother about safety issues
so if in hassle, call a mini cab
London's classic black metered taxis are world famous. Spacious inside and availabile if the yellow light is lit. Minicabs are not metered and may be cheaper for long trips. Establish the fare before you get in.
Taxies in Londone are very cool and not much expensive. Start is 2 pounds and each km is like 20 pennies. So in Centrel London, for some normal distance it will take you from 5 - 15 pounds.
But if you go to the airport, it may be very expensive. For example, from Central London to Luton airport it will take you 70 - 80 pounds!
London's famous taxis (black cabs) can either be booked in advance or hailed on the street or from designated taxi ranks.
For more information check out the transport for London page on Taxis
All matters regarding licensed cabs are the responsibility of the Public Carriage Office, who set standards for the vehicles, the fares and service provided by the cab drivers. There are a lot of rules but they provide a framework within which the cab drivers can earn a good living and the public get a consistent service. Sometimes drivers bend the rules and it is useful to understand why this happens.
The taxi drivers operating in central London are often cockneys from north of the river. East London lads plying their trade, ferrying tourists in and around the West End. They are quite happy to do that all day because they can be pretty sure they can get another fare at any destination.
This is not the case if they go south of the River, particularly at night away from were all the entertainment located. They are, however, obliged to under the terms of their license:
'Drivers must, unless they have good cause, accept any hiring up to 12 miles (20 miles if starting at Heathrow Airport), or up to one hour duration, if the destination is in Greater London. The driver is not obliged to accept a hiring if the destination is outside Greater London, the fare for such a journey may be negotiated between the driver and hirer.'
Generally they will try to make any excuse not to go South. 'I'm just finishing for the evening' or 'I'm running low on fuel' or 'I've got mechanical problems' or some other dubious story.
None of this will wash with the Public Carriage Office and if a member of the public reports their Cab number, they will have to explain themselves.
If they do take you and you don't tip them, they can get angry. A lot of bar staff rely on taxis to take them home after work in the early hours of the morning. It is hardly fair to be pressured into tipping a taxi driver if the evening has been quiet in the bar with few tips.
Licensed cab drivers in London earn a very good living by UK standards. They are generally honest and helpful, only a few of them let the side down.