London – Tips for Taking a Taxi

Hailing a Cab

No trip to London is complete without taking a ride in a famous Black Cab. These black cabs can be hailed off the street or found at designated taxi stands (mainly in prominent areas such as transportation hubs, hotels, and famous sights). To hail a cab in London you use the universal sign, stand on the edge of the sidewalk and raise your arm in the air. If the yellow TAXI sign at the front of the cab is lit up, the cab is available for hire. While it is generally fairly easy to hail a cab in London there are times you may find it troublesome. If you are trying to catch a cab late at night in a popular tourist or nightclub area the cabs may be scare and some drivers may refuse your fare, especially if they suspect you have been out partying hard. If you find yourself in this situation you can always book a cab over the telephone but you will be charged a few extra pounds.

While you are trying to hail an official black cab, keep your eyes open for “Gypsy Cabs”. These cabs are prominent in London and are unlicensed and uninsured. Most of these cabs will be unmarked vehicles and the drivers will try to trick you into thinking they are legitimate cab drivers. Gypsy Cabs are most prevalent in major tourist areas like Leicester Square, Theatreland, and Soho.

If you feel unsafe hailing or getting into a cab there are a couple resources you can use to make yourself more comfortable. First if you want to make sure you are getting in the right cab when you call for one and not a gypsy cab, it is common to set up a password with the dispatcher. The dispatcher will then arrange for your cab driver to tell you this password when he arrives. Second if you are a women traveling alone or in a small group you can opt to call Lady Mini Cabs (020 7272 3300), a minicab service run exclusively by women for women. Lastly, always make sure you check the driver’s license and cab registration when you get in!



The fares in London can be a bit confusing when looking at them in a table. We recommend you use our London Calculator to figure out your fare estimates or our RideGuru tool to compare the price of London Black Cabs to Rideshare services.

The table below shows typical fares and journey times based on distance for three types of tariff. Fares and journey times may be higher if there are delays or heavy traffic. Please note there is a minimum fare of £2.40 at all times.



Monday to Friday
06:00 – 20:00
(Tariff code 1)

Monday to Friday
20:00 – 22:00
Saturday and Sunday
06:00 – 22:00
(Tariff code 2)

Every night
22:00 – 06:00
Public holidays
(Tariff code 3)

1 mile

6 – 13 mins

£5.60 – £8.80

£5.60 – £8.80

£6.80 – £9.00

2 miles

10 – 20 mins

£8.60 – £13.80

£9.00 – £13.80

£10.40 – £14.60

4 miles

16 – 30 mins

£15 – £22

£16 – £22

£18 – £27

6 miles

28 – 40 mins

£23 – £29

£28 – £31

£28 – £33

Between Heathrow
Central London

30 – 60 mins

£45 – £85

£45 – £85

£45 – £85

Drivers must, unless they have good cause, accept any hiring up to 12 miles (20 miles if starting at Heathrow Airport), or up to one hour duration, if the destination is in Greater London. The driver is not obliged to accept a hiring if the destination is outside Greater London.

For more information on fares please visit,


Extra Charges

All extra charges must be added on to the meter and the start of the trip. There are not extra charges for luggage, additional passengers, or assistance dogs.

  • There is a £3.20 charge for all trips starting at Heathrow Airport
  • There is an extra charge of £4 for journeys made between 20:00 on 24 December and 06:00 on 27 December or between 20:00 on 31 December and 06:00 on 2 January 2013
  • There is a soiling charge of £40 if the taxi has to be taken out of service for cleaning
  • There is a charge of £2.00 if you book your taxi by telephone
  • There is a maximum charge of £1.00 or 12.5 per cent of the metered fare, whichever is higher, when using your credit or debit card



How many cabs are there in London?

  • As of April 2012, there were about 30,000 licensed cabs!

Should you tip your driver in London?

  • It is not a requirement to tip in taxis but it is customary to at least round up to the nearest pound. More and more people today are starting to even tip 10-15%.

Why do black cabs have a curbed roof?

  • The story goes that the bulging roofline of these taxis was originally designed to accommodate the height of bowler hats!

Is it true London taxi drivers have to pass an exam?

  • Yes! In fact London’s black cab drivers must pass a formidable exam known as “The Knowledge” before they are granted their license. The Knowledge takes two years of study, and drivers must memorize around 25,000 streets in London! They also must know the whereabouts of every hospital, theatre, hotel, train station, etc. After all their training they have to sit for months of rigorous exams before being certified. These cabbies know their stuff!

Are London Black Cabs wheelchair accessible?

  • A great feature of the London Black Cab is that they are ALL wheelchair accessible and carry assistance dogs at no charge!

How many passengers can fit in a Black Cab?

  • Traditional Black Cabs can fit 5 passengers. If you have a larger party you can call a minicab which can fit up to 7 people. Mini Cabs are unmarked cabs and cannot be hailed off the street; they must be called for by a telephone. Your hotel staff, host, or restaurant personnel should have a list of licensed operators.


Airport to City Center

Taxis are very prevalent at Heathrow Airport. When you step outside any terminal at Heathrow you will see lines of iconic London black cabs at the taxi ranks. Drivers must wait their turn in line before picking up any passengers. The average cost for a cab ride from Heathrow to London center is quite expensive, about 70 – 80 euros before tolls and tip.



If you feel you have been wrongly charged by a taxi or happened to get in an unlicensed cab, make sure to get a receipt and call the company listed on the receipt. If you were unable to obtain a receipt, contact the London Transport Authority here: