London taxis, black cabs and minicabs

From iconic London black cabs to local minicabs, find all the information you need to help you travel around London by taxi.
Two black cabs wait in front of a theatre for passengers in London at night
Black cabs wait in front of a London theatre. © / Jon Reid.

London taxi information

  • Only black cabs can be hailed in the street. If the yellow TAXI sign is on, the cab is available for hire.

  • Black cabs are metered and there is a minimum charge of £3.20.

  • Minicabs can be a cheaper alternative - ask prices beforehand as they are not on a meter.

  • Only book a licensed minicab with a Transport for London license discunbooked minicabs are illegal, unsafe and uninsured.  

Complete your London experience with a ride in one of the city's black cabs. London's official taxis, black cabs can be hailed in the street or at designated ranks situated in prominent places, including many mainline rail, Tube and bus stations. They can also be booked by telephone.

If the yellow TAXI sign at the front is illuminated, the cab is available for hire. Black cabs are legally obliged to take on any job for journeys up to 12 miles (20 miles for cabs at the Heathrow Airport taxi ranks), or up to one-hour duration.

London cabs fares and tips

Fares are metered, and there is a minimum charge of £3.20. Additional charges apply when you take a black cab from Heathrow, book by telephone, and on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. All black cabs accept payment by credit or debit card, and there is no surcharge on the taxi fare for card payment.

See the TFL taxi fares page.

You can tip taxi drivers as much as you like, but most people round up to the nearest pound.

Black cab accessibility

All black cabs are wheelchair accessible and carry assistance dogs at no charge. Most taxis have a variety of additional aids for travellers, including:

  • Ramps
  • Swivel seat
  • Intermediate step
  • Seat sight patches
  • Large coloured grab handles
  • Intercom
  • Induction loop.

Licensed private hire vehicles and minicabs in London

Private hire covers a wide range of services, from local minicab companies to chauffeur driven limousines.

You can check with Transport for London to see if an operator is licensed.

Private hire vehicles and minicabs must be booked at an office, by telephone or email. Reputable, licensed minicab companies can offer a cheaper alternative to the black cab. While their fares are generally reasonable, they are not on a meter, instead you should ask how much the trip will cost when you make a booking.

If you want to book a private hire vehicle or minicab by telephone then most hotels and hostels will have a list of reputable, licensed operators. You will also find minicab offices on most high streets. All licensed private hire vehicles have a distinctive Transport for London licence disc in the front and rear windscreen. 

Licensed private hire vehicles accessibility

A wide range of cars are used as private hire vehicles and when you make a booking you should check with the operator whether their vehicles meet your accessibility requirements.

Private hire vehicles carry assistance dogs at no extra charge.

Stay safe in London

Unbooked minicabs are illegal. You may be approached by minicab drivers seeking passengers or offering a service; avoid this as these are unsafe, unlicensed, uninsured and illegal and you put yourself in danger if you use these services.

Only taxis (black cabs) can be stopped by customers and can pick up off the street.

Booking your minicab with a licensed minicab company guarantees that your trip will be carried out by a licensed driver in a licensed vehicle. It also means that a record is kept of your journey, your driver and the vehicle used. Therefore, in the event of any problems, the driver can be traced.

Only taxis (black cabs) can be stopped by customers and can pick up off the street. Even minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs are breaking the law if they accept your fare without a booking being made first. Many clubs have licensed minicab operators inside who can take your booking. Check with staff to see if a minicab service is available.

Useful information

  • To comment or complain about taxi and private hire services visit the cab contact page of the TfL website, call TfL on +44 (0)343 222 4000 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday) or get in touch on Twitter using the handle @TfLTPH