London Taxis

World-famous for their quality, comfort, and their drivers’ unparalleled knowledge of London streets, London taxis are an elegant and reliable way to get around the city

London has the oldest regulated taxi service in the world, and the cabs have a renowned tradition of quality and comfort, which makes for extremely enjoyable and reliable rides, albeit very expensive compared to other European capitals.

Considering that London taxi drivers have to pass the infamously difficult Knowledge of London (the taxi knowledge test for London), you are sure to be in good hands when taking a cab. That said, we rarely recommend getting a taxi in the city, since traffic can be quite slow in the centre and the service is quite expensive. Nonetheless, taxis are a good safety net to have in case all else fails.

Taxis in London
Cabs in London are recognisable by their distinctive and unique design.

First of all, an important distinction must be made. In London, you can find taxis, also called black cabs (or hackney carriages) and minicabs. The difference between the two is that black cabs are purpose-built vehicles that can be hailed in the street and picked up at a taxi rank. They can carry up to 8 passengers.

Minicabs are private hire vehicles that can be executive cars, limousines, or any other type of car. Both are licensed by the TfL (Transport for London), but minicabs can only be pre-booked through their operator. Prices are normally clarified before the beginning of the ride with a minicab, whereas a taxi will calculate the fare with a taximeter, based on government-approved tariffs.

To avoid scammers and dangerous situations, it’s important to know how to recognise a licensed taxi in London. First of all, you must know that even though they are called black cabs, taxis can be of any colour. However, they do all have a “for hire” light on the roof, they are all 100% wheelchair accessible, and they all carry assistance dogs free of charge.

You can always pay for your journey in a cab by cash or card. There are no extra charges for either payment option. All cabs must display their (green or yellow) licence on the front and rear windscreen, while the driver must wear a (green or yellow) badge. On the back of the vehicle, you’ll also see the taxi plate stating how many passengers the cab is authorised to carry.

Private hire vehicles, on the other hand, can look like pretty much any type of vehicle, but they all must have round yellow licence discs displayed on the front and rear windscreens. The driver must also wear a private hire ID.

How expensive is it to get a taxi in London?

Cab fares in London are generally calculated by the taximeter, and they tend to be quite expensive. You also have to keep in mind that fares and tariffs vary depending on the time of travel and the distance travelled. There are four official tariffs established by the TfL (Transport for London). Each one of them is to be applied at different times of the day, which you can see in the summary table below.

Tariff 1
Tariff 2
Tariff 3
Tariff 4
Tariff Time applied Miles Rate
Tariff 1 Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm Under 6 miles £3.05/mile
Tariff 2 Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm Under 6 miles £3.74/mile
Tariff 3 Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm Under 6 miles £3.96/mile
Tariff 4 Mon-Sun all day/night Over 6 miles £3.70/mile

A minimum charge of £3.80 always applies.

However, since traffic can be quite heavy in London, the TfL has also established time limits over which certain costs will be charged, even if a certain mileage has not been reached. Calculating them can be quite difficult, but if you want to check the TfL tariffs, you can do so here .

Since estimating how much a cab journey will cost just by looking at the different tariffs is so complicated, in the following table you can find the fare ranges you can expect when taking a cab in London. If traffic is slow and your journey takes a long time, expect the fare to be towards the more expensive end.

Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Time Distance/time Fare
Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm 1 mile (6-13 min) £6.40 - £10.00
Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm 2 miles (10-20 min) £9.00 - £15.80
Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm 4 miles (16-30 min) £17.00 - £25.00
Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm 1 mile (6-13 min) £6.40 - £10.20
Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm 2 miles (10-20 min) £10.40 - £16.00
Mon-Fri 8:00 pm to 10:00 pmSat-Sun 5:00 am to 10:00 pm 4 miles (16-30 min) £19.00 - £25.00
Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm 1 mile (6-13 min) £8.00 - £11.20
Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm 2 miles (10-20 min) £11.60 - £17.00
Mon-Sun 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm 4 miles (16-30 min) £20.00 - £29.00

A journey between Heathrow Airport and central London will be anywhere between £52.00 and £97.00, depending on traffic conditions.

As for minicabs and other private hire vehicles (like Uber), journey fares are normally agreed upon before the journey. Overall, their prices tend to be similar to the corresponding taxi fares.

For short journeys and small distances within the city, getting a cab is usually cheaper than getting an Uber or minicab. It is also considerably easier, seen as you can simply hail a taxi in the street instead of having to wait for the vehicle that you booked to arrive.

However, for longer distances, cab fares tend to be higher than Uber and minicab prices. For this reason, we recommend you book longer journeys (like your transfer from the airport to the city and vice versa) via an app.

How do I get a taxi in London?

London’s cabs can be hailed on the street, picked up from a taxi rank, or booked in advance. Private hire vehicles, also called minicabs or PHVs, have to be booked in advance through a licensed operator. They cannot be hailed on the street.

Hailing a black cab in the street is the most common and easiest way to get a taxi in London. When you see a cab with the “for hire” light on the roof, simply approach the street (being careful not to stand on pedestrian crossings) and make yourself visible by raising your hand.

You can also get a cab at any appointed taxi rank. You can check out all approved ranks in London on the TfL website . If you are close to a rank, it might be easier to get a cab this way, as there usually are quite a few waiting. Unfortunately, at times you might find unlicensed taxis waiting by a rank. Always make sure you are getting on a licensed cab. You’ll recognise them by the yellow or green licence displayed on the front and rear windscreens and the approved white taxi plate.

Alternatively, you can also contact a taxi company and reserve one of their cabs, either by phone call or app (if they have one). There might be an extra charge up to £2.00 for such bookings. Although every company has their own individual phone number, London has one number that you can call for all taxi companies. It is +44 0871 871 8710. You can find the individual phone numbers for all the major cab companies on the TfL website .

If you want to get a minicab, you will have to book directly with a licensed private hire operator. This is usually done by phone number or app (if the operator has one). You can find all licensed minicab companies in London on the TfL page .

Internationally renowned private hire vehicle app Uber is also available in London. Like all other PHVs, Uber rides can only be pre-booked and cannot be hailed in the street. All Uber operations are managed through the app, so you will have to download it and register your details before being able to book a ride.

Download Uber for iOS

Download Uber for Android

Taxi apps in London

There are quite a few taxi and private hire vehicles apps available in London. In our opinion, they come in particularly handy when you have scheduled appointments or when you are in a less serviced area of the city, especially late at night. Otherwise, it might just be easier to hail a cab on the street. Following, you can find a list of operational apps in London.


Free Now is one of the major taxi-hailing apps in Europe. In London, you can use Free Now to book either black cabs (taxis) or private hire vehicles. It is trustworthy and user-friendly, not to mention extremely popular.

If you get a Ride (private hire vehicle) on Free Now, all payments will be processed in-app via card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) or Apple Pay. If you use Free Now to get a black cab, you’ll be able to pay with cash, card, or Apple Pay.

Download Free Now for iOS

Download Free Now for Android


Uber is a well-known and reliable app for private hire vehicles. On Uber, prices depend on the kind of vehicle you choose - there are seven different options to choose from, each apt for different needs.

In any case, the price you will be required to pay at the end of the ride is always displayed before booking. Payment methods accepted on Uber are credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as cash payments (only if specified before the start of the ride).

Download Uber for iOS

Download Uber for Android


Gett is a carbon-neutral taxi-hailing app. With Gett, you can choose to book a classic black cab, as well as an electric one. Pre-booking anywhere from one hour to four weeks in advance is also possible.

When using Gett in London, you have to pay by card (either debit or credit) via the app.

Download Gett for iOS

Download Gett for Android


Bolt is another major ride-hailing app in Europe. In London, it offers five different kinds of private hire vehicles to accommodate all needs.

Rides on Bolt can be reserved from 30 minutes to 3 days in advance. All Bolt rides in London can be paid for via the app (with a registered card or digital wallet) or in cash. Mastercard, Visa, and American Express circuits are all accepted.

Download Bolt for iOS

Download Bolt for Android

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London Taxis