UK Taxis Travellers Tips

London Taxi

Taxis in the UK are famous around the world, the iconic black cabs in London are synonymous with the city. The black cabs now come in other colours too, taxis and minicabs around the UK offer travellers a safe way of getting around. The UK taxis travellers tips guide looks at both taxis and minicabs in the UK and gives further information and practical advice on booking taxis, the fares and tips and useful travellers tips including important safety tips & considerations.

Travellers Tips - Taxis & Minicabs

UK Taxis & Minicabs
Booking Taxis & Minicabs
Fares & Tips
Taxis & Minicabs Travellers Tips & Advice

UK Taxis & Minicabs

The famous London cabs are usually black in colour (although they can be in different colours & may have advertising banners on them), they can be hailed on the street and their drivers have good knowledge of routes and roads. The drivers are famous for their humour and can help brighten up your journey! Taxis in cities like London can be found on the street and in taxi ranks outside public places such as airports and train stations. It is important to use licensed taxis for your safety.

Minicabs offer an alternative to using taxis, they usually charge cheaper rates, although unlike taxis cannot be hailed from the street. Minicabs need to be booked in advance, the licensed minicabs of reputable firms offer a good service and a viable option to get around. The vehicles used are not marked out as taxis are and look much like ordinary cars. The carrying capacity is usually 4 persons however larger vehicles to carry i.e. 7 can be booked. When using minicabs it is important it is recommended to only use those that are licensed with the PCO (Public Carriage Office), the PCO disk would be displayed on either the front or back windscreen of the vehicle.

Travellers should note taxis and minicabs may not accommodate long journeys i.e. between towns and cities. If they do you should beware a long journey in either a taxi or minicab will be very expensive.

Booking Taxis & Minicabs

You can hail a taxi in the street, look out for the 'For Hire' sign to be illuminated meaning it is available for hire. If the sign is not illuminated it is likely someone is using it or the driver is off duty. To find taxis there are many taxi ranks outside of public places such as the UK airports and rail stations. Most taxis can carry up to 5 passengers, if you are in a group with more than 5, you would have to use another taxi or consider using a minibus that has more capacity.

For taxi rank information at tube (Underground), train and tram stations please see: Traintaxi

To book taxis for journeys across London please see: Dial-a-Cab for more information.

Minicabs need to be booked in advance of your journey, thus enough time needs to be allowed for the minicab to arrive. It should be noted at busy times it can take some time for minicabs to arrive, so booking in advance is a good idea. There are many minicab firms, it is recommended travellers use only licensed firms for your own safety and ask your hotel/travel provider for a reputable firm you can use. Given the fare is usually fixed it is important to agree a fare when you are booking to stop any dispute or ambiguity on the fare when it is time to pay.

Transport for London offers a facility on its website to find licensed taxi firms and minicabs in different areas. Transport for London also offers a useful facility called Cabwise where you can the number of one taxi firm & two licensed minicab firms by text from the area in which you are texting. This is a useful service especially if you do not have the taxi/minicabs numbers to hand or are in an area you are unfamiliar with. For more information see Booking Taxis & Minicabs - Transport For London for more information.

Fares & Tips

In taxis you can usually see the fare via the fare meters that are usually visible to the passengers in the back, this gives you an accurate fare price as you go along your journey, and the fare is then the price shown on the meter at the end of your journey.

The customary amount to gives to taxi drivers is around 10%. This 10% tip is given in addition to the fare.

Minicabs usually operate differently to taxis regarding fares, the fares for minicabs are usually fixed, and minicabs will not have fare metres that you see in taxis. You would just pay the agreed fare at the end of your journey.

For minicabs the customary tip is again approx 10% given to the driver in addition to the actual fare.

Travellers should be aware of others costs that can impact on journeys in taxis and minicabs. Others possible costs to look out for include:

Extra charges for paying by card (check before you book).

Extra charges for booking by phone (for taxis).

Higher charges for services on the Christmas & New Year period.

Charges for waiting at airports (i.e. parking charges).

Using larger vehicles i.e. estates, people carriers and minibuses will increase the cost.

Taxis & Minicabs Travellers Tips & Advice

If you wish to use taxis/minicabs ask your hotel/tour operator for the details of a trusted company you can use.

Before you go out ensure your mobile phone is fully charged and in working order in case you need it.

Keep the details of taxi/minicab firms with you.

If you are travelling to a new area you are unfamiliar with get the details of a licensed local taxi/minicab firm & keep them with you, this is useful should you need to use their services.

When in the taxi/minicab, keep your mobile phone in your pocket so that it is easy to reach in case you need it.

Beware of unlicensed minicabs touting for business especially in the evenings outside tourist attractions, cinemas, nightclubs etc. Do not use them.

Do not use unlicensed taxis and minicabs, it is not worth taking unnecessary risks. If you are unsure or get the feeling something is not right, do not get in.

If you know there is traffic congestion & getting to your destination will take a long time, you can save by using a licensed minicab with a fixed price (remember to confirm the price when you book) as opposed to the taxis that charge according to time and distance.

When leaving the taxi/minicab do not forget to take all of your belongings (i.e. luggage, personal items).

Visitors to the UK have the option of taxis and minicabs in addition to public transport and private car hire as popular methods of getting around. Whilst using taxis and minicabs can be a more expensive option than using public transport, there are occasions when using a tax/minicab can be more convenient especially if you are going to areas that are not well served by public transport. Those with mobility problems or disabilities may also find the convenience & facilities offered by taxis are what they are looking for. It is important that travellers remember the safety tips contained in the UK taxis travellers tips guide and use licensed taxis and minicabs only and do not take unnecessary risks by using unlicensed ones.

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