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Taxi

Although expensive, taxis can be a very useful way to get about town. Black-cab drivers can be hailed on the street and are both generally very honest and extremely knowledgable: they know precisely where they are going, though they can talk the hind leg off a donkey.

Black Cabs

The black cab is as much a feature of the London cityscape as the red double-decker bus. Licensed black cab drivers have the 'Knowledge’, acquired after rigorous training and a series of exams. They are supposed to know 25,000 streets within a 6-mile radius of Charing Cross/Trafalgar Sq and the 100 most-visited spots of the moment, including clubs and restaurants.

  • Cabs are available for hire when the yellow sign above the windscreen is lit; just stick your arm out to signal one.
  • Fares are metered, with the flagfall charge of £2.60 (covering the first 235m during a weekday), rising by increments of 20p for each subsequent 117m.
  • Fares are more expensive in the evenings and overnight.
  • You can tip taxi drivers up to 10%, but most Londoners simply round up to the nearest pound.
  • Apps such as mytaxi (https://uk.mytaxi.com) use your smartphone's GPS to locate the nearest black cab. You only pay the metered fare.
  • ComCab operates one of the largest fleets of black cabs in town.

Minicabs

  • Minicabs, which are licensed, are (usually) cheaper competitors of black cabs.
  • Unlike black cabs, minicabs cannot legally be hailed on the street; they must be hired by phone or directly from one of the minicab offices (every high street has at least one and most clubs work with a minicab firm to send revellers home safely).
  • Don’t accept unsolicited offers from individuals claiming to be minicab drivers – they are just guys with cars.
  • Minicabs don’t have meters; there’s usually a fare set by the dispatcher. Make sure you ask before setting off.
  • Your hotel or host will be able to recommend a reputable minicab company in the neighbourhood; every Londoner has the number of at least one company. Or phone a large 24-hour operator such as Addison Lee.
  • Apps such as Uber or Kabbee allow you to book a minicab in double-quick time and can save you money. At the time of writing, Uber had won an appeal to operate in London, but is on 15 months probation.