Hailing a taxi in popular nightlife areas of London such as Soho late at night (and especially after pub closing time at 11pm) can be tricky. If you do find yourself in any of those areas, signal all taxis – even those with their lights off. Many drivers are very choosy about their fares at this time of night.
All black cabs are wheelchair accessible and most have a variety of additional aids for disabled travellers, including:
Seat sight patches
Large coloured grab handles
Free carriage of assistance dogs
Minicabs are now fully licensed and are cheaper, freelance competitors of 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 – look out for a flashing orange light). Licensed minicabs carry their licenses in their car and are also displayed in the operator's office.
Minicabs don’t have meters, so it’s essential to fix a price before you start (it’s therefore not usual to tip minicab drivers). Make sure you bargain hard, as most drivers start higher than the fare they’re prepared to accept.
Ask a local for the name of a reputable minicab company, or phone a large 24- hour operator. Alternatively, check if the operator is licensed by calling Transport for London +44 (0)20 7222 1234.
Addison Lee is a private hire and courier company, offering minicabs as well as chauffeur-driven Mercedes. (Tel: +44 (0)20 7387 8888).
Women traveling alone at night can choose Ladycabs (Tel: +44 (0)20 7254 3501), which has women drivers.
Freedom Cars (Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 1313) caters for the gay and lesbian market, although gay couples are extremely unlikely to experience open homophobia from drivers of black cabs.
Unlicensed minicabs are illegal. You may be approached by unlicensed minicab drivers seeking fares; it’s advisable to avoid this as there have been a number allegations of assualt made against unlicensed cab drivers. Click here for 'staying safe in London'
Useful Phone Numbers
You can call one of 7,000 safe and reliable licensed black taxis by calling one number. No account needed - passengers simply pay with cash or by credit or debit card.
Taxi One: 0871 871 8710.
Text HOME to 60835 for local licensed cab information (from Cabwise)
London Travel Information (24 hrs): +44 (0)20 7222 1234
Private Tour of London in a Black Taxxi- Click here