The classic Black Cab is a convenient, safe and comfortable, but expensive, mode of transport. Black Cabs in London are famous for their roomy, classic look and drivers who know every nook and cranny in London. The cars fit 5 passengers plus luggage. Remember that cabs are influenced by the traffic situation though taxis are allowed in bus lanes. If you need to arrive at a particular time, make sure to consider whether you will be traveling during a rush hour and plan your departure accordingly.
Taxis with lit black and yellow sign on top are unoccupied and you simply flag one down on the street when you need one. They will stop and turn round if they were heading in the opposite direction. Black Cabs are usually used for short distances, such as going to a meeting or a central station.
Meters start at £2.40, although evening service is more expensive with a surcharge from 8pm. For detailed information on tariffs, visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/taxisandminicabs/taxis/taxifares/4870.aspx. Tipping 10-15% is appreciated. Credit cards are accepted in most cabs.
- Heathrow – WC1/WC2, £42
- Heathrow – Chelsea/Kensington, £38
- Heathrow – Canary Wharf £60
- Heathrow to Gatwick £120
It is quite easy to find a cab during the day, both weekdays and weekends, but Friday and Saturday evenings, particularly in the West End around midnight, are more challenging so be prepared to wait up to 15 minutes to find a Black Cab. Walking away from a main road might increase your chances of finding one. Only Black Cabs can be legally flagged down on London streets. For contact details and bookings click here.
Never, ever hire a cab off a street that is not a Black Cab. Mini cabs must be licensed and you should only hire one from a licensed office. Drivers are required to carry their license to drive a mini cab and it is your right to ask to see this license.
Mini Cabs are ubiquitous in London and companies operate 24-hour mini cab services in most neighborhoods. Ask a neighbor for the contact details of a reliable mini cab service. Beware that mini cab drivers are not nearly as well-versed on the intricacies of London’s streets as Black Cab drivers. Having the postal code of your destination ready can be helpful, as the driver can input this information into a satellite navigation/GPS device. Prices are generally set at flat rates and are lower than Black Cab prices which run off a meter. One mini cab service that operates in many areas and is reputable and licensed:
Addison Lee: http://www.addisonlee.com; 0844 800 6677
This reputable company offers safe and reliable taxi service at 35% cheaper than Black Cab service. Coverage is wide, offering a 15-minute pick-up time within central London. Cars fit up to 6 passengers. Credit cards are accepted.