BLACK CABS AND MINICABS IN LONDON
LONDON TAXIS OR “BLACK CABS”
Iconic London black cabs are fantastic to see, and riding in them can be quite an experience; with their unique design and black body, they are an unmistakable icon of London. The cars and the drivers are reliable and offer a high quality service. Few people know that in order to obtain the license required to drive a London black cab, you must pass a test named The Knowledge.
Drivers study for at least three years to learn by heart the structure and names of 25,000 streets within a radius of about 10km starting from Charing Cross Station, proving to be able to calculate the most convenient route between a starting point and a destination.
However, be warned, London Black Cabs have always been an expensive ‘treat’ since time immemorial! Which means, if you wish to stay on a budget, you may want to use them only for short journeys. Fares are metered, and there is a minimum charge of £2.40. Moreover, if you make a telephone reservation, you must add an additional £2.00.
Most taxis accept payment by credit/debit card. They offer the advantage that they can be hailed in the street or found in designed ranks. All taxis in London are equipped with a ramp for access for prams and wheelchairs.
London Black Cabs: DOs
If the light is bright, you are free to hail it. If embarking at a Taxi Rank and there is more than one cab, please go to the first one (the one at the front). The British have a reputation for forming orderly queues.
Although tips are not obligatory, they are tradition. It’s common to round up to the nearest pound.
London Black Cabs: DON’Ts
You aren’t supposed to open the front nearside door or sit on the front. It’s regarded as a bit of a territorial infringement.
If you take a black cab from Heathrow, on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve or book by telephone, there will be a surcharge.
If you’re broke or on a budget, you should opt for a cheap taxi in London: minicabs.
TIP: Ubicabs.com allows you book a Cheap Taxi in London, comparing quotes: you can save up to 40% over black cab fares.
MINICABS IN LONDON AND IN THE UK
Image credits: Pedro Figueiredo
Minicabs are cars for hire with driver, identified by a sticker. You always need to book them. The service does not work in the meter, and the rate is always communicated before the race starts.
Minicabs are almost always cheaper than traditional black taxis; it’s a good idea to have the phone numbers of minicab agencies in your area on hand in case you need to contact them. If you have no number, you may send a text message to 60835 (35p + SMS rate): You will receive a SMS with the phone number of two different minicab offices in the area in which you are located and a number to book a black cab.
Minicabs are widely used during the weekend as a way to go home safely and quickly after a night out. As booking one at the last minute might mean a long waiting list, it’s always preferable to make a reservation at least one hour before you need it.
Minicabs in London and in the UK: DOs
Always book a minicab at an office, by telephone or email.
Always ask the fare while booking and note it down. Fares are not on a meter.
Always ask for the driver’s name and color/make of the car.
Get aggregated with other people when possible. This will result in more security, and it will cut costs.
Minicabs in London and in the Uk: DON’Ts
Don’t accept minicabs approaching you and offering a service. They are illegal and unlicensed, and they may ask you for astronomical rates. Only black cabs can be hailed on the street. Travel safe and always using licensed minicabs!
Tip: Minicabster allows you to book cheap licenced minicabs in London and in the UK.
TAXI APPS FOR LONDON AND THE UK
Here are some taxi apps for Apple and Android devices that offer a booking service for taxis and minicabs:
Ubicabs is a useful app which compares quotes, and you can save up to 40% over black cab fares.
You can save instantly with quotes from over 10,000 licensed minicabs.