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Watch out for non-liscensed cabs
There are many pirate cabs operating in London and they will attempt to offer you a ride, especially if you are travelling alone. Be weary and wise - illegal cab drivers commit 10 sexual assaults each month. Therefore it is worth pre-booking cabs or knowing what information to look for to make sure the cab you use is actually liscensed. Make sure the private hire driver can confirm your name and destination before getting into the vehicle. Always sit in the back and carry a mobile phone if possible. Ensure that the vehicle has a PCO licence disc in the front and rear windscreens. Refer to the listed website for more information.
Single females should NEVER take unlicensed mini-cabs. Check the GLA website advice regarding taxis, and minicabs. They also provide a phone number listing licensed cab firms in your area:
"You can text HOME to 60835 and receive the numbers of licensed minicab and black cab firms in the area you are texting from. This service - the first of its type in the UK - was launched by the Mayor in September 2005.
* Text charged at 35p per enquiry plus standard text message rate. Service not currently available on Virgin and 3 mobile networks."
Black cabs in London are expensive late at night - but this really is the safer option. This statement is also taken from the website:
Remember for all private hire journeys, including in a minicab, you must always book through a licensed private hire operator - unlicensed minicab drivers commit 10 sexual assaults every month.
A problem in London is unlicensed minicabs which hang about outside bars and nightclubs especially in the centre and tout for business.
There are several problems with this. Firstly, the vast majority of them are not covered by insurance for "hire and reward" i.e. taking paying passengers, so if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident you are not covered.
Secondly, if they do manage to get you to where you want to go, they charge extortionate fares, and can be quite "forceful" about collecting the money.
The third, and most serious danger, is that of sexual assault on women. Police in London estimate that on average one woman per week is raped by a bogus minicab driver. 91% of women attacked is under 35 years old, and 50% of them under 24. These bogus drivers deliberately target women who are obviously a little drunk, and who are on their own.
The advice is simple - DON'T DO IT.
- Women's Travel
Always avoid unlicensed mini-cabs
I've read a few comments about the use unlicensed vs. black cabs in London. As a woman living in London, the most relevant information in making my decision about how to get home after a late night out is that 11 women are raped or sexually assaulted every month in unlicensed minicabs in London. My advice is NEVER take an unlicensed cab from outside a pub or club on your own, especially if you're a woman.
Zingo taxi will locate the very nearest black cab to wherever you are, meaning you shouldn't have to wait more than a few minutes.
- Women's Travel
There are two types of cabs or taxis in London, black cabs (see photograph) and minicabs. Black cabs are fully licensed taxis, whose drivers will know how to take you anywhere via the shortest route. Minicabs are taxis that are run by a minicab company, whose drivers know London roughly, well enough to take you to most places, for less money than a black cab. Now, the problem stems from the fact that black cabs are very easilly recognisable and fully licensed, whereas minicabs are just standard vehicles used as taxis. They should all be licensed with a recognised minicab company but this is not always the case. Hence, a lot of people make money on the side by driving their car around in the evenings and taking paying passengers, as unlicensed minicabs.
Because thos "rogue" minicabs are not licensed, there is no way for you to get any compensation if something goes wrong during the journey. And it is not unsual to see in the papers stories about young women being assaulted by unlicensed minicab drivers. The Metropolitan Police has been regularly posting reminders for people to be extremely careful. Less serious than being physically assaulted but still extremely annoying is the fact that unlicensed minicabs don't have any fixed fares. This means that, before you agree to step into a minicab, you should always agree on the price to take you to where you want to go. It helps if you know how much to expect for the journey as the driver might be tempted to quote an unresonnable fare. For example, I've had friends who have been charged 80 pounds to go from City airport to Fleet Street, which should normally cost you 25 to 30 pounds. They thought it was expensive but as they were on a business trip, in a hurry and not too accustomed to the currency...
So, if you're on your own, female and not too sure about the price, do yourself a favour, take a black cab. You will pay more but you will arrive to your destination safe, quickly and without being stitched off.
In London we have the usual 'black cabs' that are the London icon but also minicabs which are companies with offices or shops or booths all over London that subcontract drivers with their own cars to pick up customers who phone in with request calls.
The danger being warned of here is getting into a car with driver who says he is a minicab but straight off the street with no protection of a licenced company or anyone else being aware of the transaction. There have been many reports of rapes and muggings with unauthorised 'minicab' rides - especially pickups late at night from nightclubs or pubs when people are clearly drunk.
REcently Ive seen a number of billboards around warning against getting into a minicab straight off the street.
Ive used minicabs a lot in the years Ive been in London, especially getting to airports for early morning flights - they can be a lot cheaper and more convenient - especially when they are in your area - usually get their business cards in our mailbox wherever I have lived - and get to know which ones can be cheaper for which particular route.
Sometimes the black cabs that run on a meter can be cheaper than a minicab quote - eg from where I live to Victoria station used to £12 with a minicab - the last few times theyve quoted me £16 and occasionally Ive been able to haggle them down a bit - or a black cab has only cost me £10!...less traffic the shorter the trip if the black cab is in a hurry for you the price will be lower....
- Women's Travel
London Taxi Company- Addison Lee - BEWARE!
Be very careful with this company!!
While their service is efficient and convenient (though not any more than radio cab or any other cab in London, nor is it less expensive) , they will quote a rate from your location to the airport and charge your credit card at the time you make your reservation.
What they don't tell you, is that they will charge your card, without your knowledge or consent, random amounts for any reason they arbitrarily find appropriate - waiting, slow traffic, delays, etc. All you know is that an extra charge shows up on your card statement without any explanation whatsoever.
I, for one, would never use them again.
Beware of Illegal taxi touts in London
When out and about on the town in London especially late at night, there is a certain type of low-life which trawls the street looking for unsuspecting victims. We Londoners know him as the 'taxi tout', his usaul habitat is a scruffy looking car from which he utters his mantra through an open window, 'taxi? taxi?' This low-life attempts to portray himself as a taxi to those who are visiting London and should be avoided at all costs, they attempt to lure people in, especially those who have had a drink with the sole purpose of ripping them off with exorbitant fares. They also frequent the concourses at the terminals of Heathrow airport. avoid them like the plague and only use Licensed London Taxis commonly known as 'blackcabs'. London taxis are highly regulated and the drivers are renowned the world over. For comprehensive advice on taxi fares and avoiding touts see my website for links.
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We took a red cab because we couldent find any black cab, we thought it was the same, the starting fare was the same but the taxi driver took long ways and small roads, it felt like he was driving in circles. So it´s better to take a Black cab.
Un-lincensed mini cabs
If you are out late at night particularly in a pub or club you will notice when you leave there will be a number cab drivers outside the doors asking if you need a taxi. If you've been on your feet all night it can be very tempting to jump into one of these rather than hailing down a black cab. The vast majority of these are un-registered mini cabs and do not have fixed prices, therefore charging what they like. On the more sinister side ladies on their own can be very vulnerable, do not use these if travelling alone.
If you are not using public transport use a black cab, alternatively most pubs and clubs will have telephone number for a local reliable taxi firm, you can then arrange pick up. If you do this make sure they ask for you when they arrive.
Addison Lee are a well known firm.
In England there are very strict criteria set for people driving taxi's. Generally more expensive black "Cabs" are the safest and best way to get around as they can seat 5 people with luggage and the drivers have to take a test called "the knowledge" which basically means memorising all the streets in london and working out the fastest ways of getting a person to their destination.
there are also mini cabs (check for the hackney carriage licence on the back of the car, which you cannot hail, only call and book one, or go into taxi rank to get them.
The final form of taxi is the illegal minicab driver, you'll see them hanging around area's asking people if they want a taxi etc... or they'll pull over to you as if you've hailed them and try and get business this way. Many of these drivers are trying to make a living, which isn't a bad thing in itself but when you consider none of these drivers are licenced to carry passengers as a taxi and are therefore not insured this is where the problem lies. More so, there have been a number of rape and mugging cases because of a few of these drivers, so my advice spend the extra £5-10 and take a black cab
ONLY use registered Taxi cabs in central London
You will be approached (more so at nightime outside venues) by individual 'minicab' drivers = unregistered drivers offering cheaper rides back to your accommodation. DO NOT USE THEM.
The cars can be illegal, (the drivers most certainly are) and the potential dangers are endless. I dont know the current statistics but women are attacked weekly where they have used these cheaper options.
Don't take an unlicensed mini-cab / taxi
This tip is to say rather be safe then sorry, there have been some unfortunate incidents involving unlicensed cabs / taxis.
My advice is to either hail a black cab which operate frequently in central London, or else obtain a mini cab direct from the company office or via phone. If you come out of a night club the door men will usually find you a cab home.
In Australia our taxis tend to belong to one of two well-known taxi cab companies.
It was a real shock to me to learn that London has 'black' cabs as well as numerous mini cab companies. At one of the Heathrow information desks I was able to find a list of mini cabs, and hoped that they were legitimate. The owner of the place I stayed told me to be careful to only use licensed mini cabs,. He told me some bad stories of people disappearing or being assualted, who had used illegal mini cabs. As a single female it is quite scary to have an unmarked car pull up where you're waiting and start to load your bags in to the car.
'Black cabs' are fares are metered. With a mini cab you organise a quote for your trip, and that's all you pay.
Basically, to get a good price on a cab shop around, but be aware that 'dodgy' mini cab firms exist.
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
Avoid fake minicab drivers - get an honest cab!
There's a public safety warning going around these days, regarding unlicensed minicab drivers.
There are two types of taxi cabs in London. One type is the famous "Black Cab". While many of these have advertising on the side or are no longer black these days, they are licensed and safe to get into. These are the ones with "TAXI" on the roof, and most of them have a distinctive "Black Cab" shape which any native would be happy to point out to you. You hail Black Cabs on the side of the road and they pick you up.
The other type of cab is called a minicab. These are not hailed from the roadside. You phone a number for a minicab company and request a cab, which then comes out to get you. It's often a lot cheaper to get a minicab than a black cab, probably because they don't have to waste time tooling around looking for customers. Minicabs, when requested this way, are generally safe if they come from a licensed company. Most hotels, pubs etc probably have some minicab phone numbers handy.
The danger comes from getting into a minicab which you did not call. Since minicab cars look like normal cars, anyone can pretend to be a minicab driver. Apparently this is a source of many rapes in London, especially upon leaving a pub after a night out - just getting into a random car. You wouldn't do this normally, so why do it just because someone "says" they are a minicab driver?
When you request a minicab, get the name of the person coming to get you, and don't get into the car unless they know your name as well. If you call a cab and then you are uncomfortable when it shows up, don't get in! I'm not sure what happens if you cancel a cab (I imagine there might be a fee but how could they make you pay?), but better to be safe and listen to your instincts.
(Do you like this tip? Please rate it, thanks!)
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