Thursday, October 22, 2009

The London Cabbie

In London, hackney-carriage drivers have to pass a test called The Knowledge to demonstrate they have an intimate knowledge of London streets. There are currently around 21,000 black cabs in London, licensed by the Public Carriage Office.

Taxi drivers given brain scans by scientists at University College London had a larger hippocampus compared with other people. This is a part of the brain associated with navigation in birds and animals. -BBC News

London Cabs are one of those icons of the city, famed for being used by the well to do, like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Well, maybe that was before London Cabbies had to learn The Knowledge.

I'm more of a Double Decker Bus kind of guy, but I do like the look of the London Black Taxis.

Fares are metered, and there is a minimum charge of £2.20. Black cabs are licensed to carry up to five people (six in the special Metrocabs and Mercedes Vitos) plus luggage. There are no additional charges for extra passengers or items of luggage within these limits. There is a £2 charge when you take a black cab from Heathrow Airport and also a £2 charge when you book a black cab by telephone.

London Taxis - Useful Information

  • Call the Taxi One Number to book a licensed taxi, no account needed - passengers simply pay with cash or by credit or debit card : +44 (0)871 871 8710
  • Be Cabwise, text HOME to 60835 (60TFL) and get black cab and minicab numbers sent straight to your mobile. There is a charge of 35p plus your network charge for this service, if you are on 3 or an overseas network you will need to text your location (street name and partial postcode e.g. Victoria St SW1) to +44 07797 800 000
  • Findaride – find details of licensed private hire and minicab operators in any part of London -
  • To comment or complain about taxi and private hire services email visit or call TfL on 0845 300 7000
  • London Travel Information (24 hrs): +44 (0)20 7222 1234
  • Lost property. If you have lost something in a black cab then call 0845 330 9882 or visit If you lose something in a private hire vehicle or minicab then contact the operator you made the booking with.

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