London Drum

London Black Cabs: Hailing Taxis & Journey Fare Calculator

Black taxi

How much is a black cab fare in London?

Black cab fares in London are based on how long the journey takes rather than the distance travelled, so the same journey can have different prices depending on the traffic.

The price is always 10% higher late at night (8 PM to 10 PM, Mon-Fri) and during the weekend (5 AM to 10 PM, Sat-Sun), and 20% higher in the early hours of the morning (10 PM to 5 AM, Mon-Sun). The highest price shown in the table includes the 20%.

London black cab fares
Around London Journey time Typical fare
1 mile 6–13 mins £7 to £12
2 miles 10–20 mins £10.60 to £18.20
3 miles 13–25 mins £14.30 to £24.60
4 miles 16–30 mins £18 to £31
5 miles 21–35 mins £23 to £35.50
6 miles 28–40 mins £28 to £40

These are the typical fares to/from London’s airports. An extra few pounds is usually added to the meter before your journey begins to cover the driver’s parking costs.

Airport taxi fares to central London
Airport ↔ central London Journey time Typical fare
Heathrow 30–80 mins £56 to £105
Gatwick 70–90 mins £114 to £158
Stansted 60–90 mins £139 to £163
Luton 60–80 mins £119 to £143
London City 30–50 mins £34 to £98

Note: If you pre-book the cab over the phone then you’ll have to pay another £2 on top. (Note: the booking fee differs between taxi companies, so you should always ask when you book it.)

Journeys that start from a taxi rank at Heathrow airport will have an extra £3.60 added on top. And they charge an extra £5.20 to drop off passengers at any of the terminals.

You’ll also have to pay an extra £4 over the Christmas and New Year holidays (8 PM on 24th to 6 AM on 27th Dec, and 8 PM on 31st to 6 AM on 2nd Jan).

What are the benefits of getting a black taxi?

  • You can usually hail a black taxi in the street if you’re close to a train station or tourist hotspot in zone 1, whereas minicabs are banned by law from picking up passengers in the street
  • Because you only have to pay for one cab between all of you, if you’re travelling in a group of three or more than it might be the cheapest way to travel
  • Taxi cab drivers have to pass one of the toughest training regimes around that takes them three years to complete, giving them an encyclopaedic knowledge of London’s streets
  • You can fit up to five people in a black taxi, whereas a lot of minicabs use normal cars which only fit four
  • Black taxis are allowed to travel in the bus lanes whereas minicabs are not, so they might be able to skip a bit of the traffic
  • All black cabs use the same fare system, and unlike some minicab companies they never hike up their prices during a strike or busy period

What are the downsides of getting a black taxi?

  • Black taxis have a minimum fare of £3.80, which is more than double the price of a bus ticket and nearly 50% higher than the cost of an Oyster tube fare
  • Black taxis charge by the time taken rather than distance travelled, so if you get stuck in the traffic the price will continue to go up
  • Black taxis are often more expensive than minicabs (sometimes by quite a lot)

What is the minimum fare for a black taxi?

The minimum fare in a black taxi cab is £3.80, which will appear on the meter before your journey begins.

Do London taxis accept credit cards?

Yes. London taxis accept payment by cash, debit card or credit card. No surcharges are added on top for contactless card payments.

Do taxi drivers expect a tip?

Taxi drivers are not entitled to a tip, but it is customary to give them 10% of the fare. In practice most people will just round up to the nearest pound, or the nearest £5 or £10, so the driver doesn’t have to root around for change.

Can you haggle with London taxi drivers?

You cannot haggle with taxi drivers. You always have to pay the fare showing on the meter at the end of your journey.

The only exception is when your taxi journey takes you outside central London, in which case a black cab driver might be prepared to agree a fee with you before the journey begins – but he is under no obligation to. If you want the certainty of a fixed fare then you really should be using a minicab.

How many passengers can a black taxi carry?

A black taxi can carry five people – three on the forward-facing sofa seat, and two more on the fold-down jump seats.

But remember that you have to squeeze all of your luggage inside the exact same space (taxis don’t have a boot), so if you’re travelling with some bulky bags then you might struggle to fold down one of the seats. For safety reasons the driver will not allow you to sit on one of your bags.

Are black taxis wheelchair accessible?

Yes. All modern black taxis are wheelchair accessible. The driver can place a ramp between the street and the floor of the vehicle, allowing you to ride up and park your wheelchair inside. You don’t even have to get out of the chair if you don’t want to, and it can be securely fastened into place with seat belts.

Most taxis also come equipped with the following accessibility aids: a swivel seat, seat sight patches, intermediate step, large coloured grab handles, plus an intercom and induction loop.

They also carry assistance dogs at no extra charge.

Can you hail a black taxi in the street?

Yes, you can always hail a black taxi in the street, but the easiest places to pick them up are from taxi-ranks outside the airports, popular tourist spots, and big mainline train stations like Charing Cross, Euston, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Marylebone, Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo.

Underground stations do not usually have taxi ranks, but if you hang around for a few minutes then you can usually flag one down in the street (there are over 20,000 of them driving around London, so you never have to wait long). Just stand in a place where it’s safe for the cab driver to stop and stick your arm out into the road when you see it coming. If its orange ‘Taxi’ sign is lit then it should be available for hire. If the light is out then it probably already has a passenger.

Note: It is quite common for taxis to drive around at night with their light switched off. This is so the drivers can pick and choose their passengers and avoid the ones that look like trouble (ie. drunks). So if you see one with its light out at night then it might still be worth sticking your arm out – just don’t be surprised if it drives straight past.

Can a London taxi refuse to take me?

A black cab driver is obliged to accept any journey of up to twelve miles, or within one hour’s driving time, provided it’s within the Greater London area. They should also accept a journey of up to twenty miles if it begins at Heathrow Airport.

The exception is when you’re drunk or misbehaving.

Can you pre-book a black taxi?

You can pre-book a black taxi over the phone and have it meet you at a particular time. TFL provides some telephone numbers and web addresses for reputable cab companies on their website:

Be aware that pre-booking a taxi will add some money onto the meter before you start. This might be a fixed fee of a couple of pounds, or it might depend on how far the driver had to travel to meet you. You should always ask the phone controller how much extra they charge when you book it.

If you want to pre-book a minicab online then try using TFL’s online form: You can also download their ‘Cabwise’ app from iTunes and the Google Play store. Most pubs and restaurants will happily recommend a few trusted companies as well.

What’s the difference between a black taxi and a minicab?

There are five main differences between a black taxi and a minicab:

1) The first difference is the shape. Taxis are the ones shown in the photo on this page, with an orange ‘Taxi’ light on the roof. They are usually painted black. Minicabs, on the other hand, have no basic shape at all because they just use normal everyday cars.

2) The second big difference is the way you pay. Black taxis all come equipped with meters so you can see how much you’re spending as you drive along. The driver might be able to give you a rough estimate of the price before you set off, but you will not know the exact amount you’re paying until you reach your destination. The longer it takes, the higher the cost will be.

3) Another big difference is that you can hail down a black taxi in the street, whereas it is technically illegal for minicabs to pick up new passengers in the street – you’re supposed to order one from a minicab office by telephone or email.

Unfortunately a lot of the minicab drivers don’t care about the rules and loiter around tourist hotspots hoping to pick up a fare. You should never get into one of these vehicles because not only is the minicab driver breaking the law, you’re also putting your own safety at risk by stepping into a stranger’s car. How do you know that it’s really a minicab?

4) The fourth difference is that black taxis are allowed to use the bus lanes, so if you’re in a massive rush to get somewhere and you’re worried about the traffic then a taxi might be slightly quicker.

5) And the final difference worth mentioning is that taxi drivers are subjected to an Enhanced Criminal Record check before they receive a licence. (That’s not to say that minicab drivers are unsafe… just that they are not subjected to the same kind of rigorous checks.)

Are minicabs cheaper than black taxis?

Black taxi fares are based on how long the journey takes, rather than the distance travelledm, so you won’t know the final price until you arrive. The driver might be able to give you a rough idea before you set off, but if you get stuck in some traffic then the price will go up.

Some minicabs also have a meter inside, but the vast majority of them will quote you a final price before you begin. It is imperative that you agree this price with the minicab office when you book it, and you should also reconfirm it with the driver before he begins the journey. This price is usually cheaper than a black taxi.

If you want the certainty of a fixed fare then you should certainly be using a minicab.

Why are black cabs so expensive?

London taxi cabs are certainly expensive if you’re travelling alone, and you can easily blow ten pounds in ten minutes just travelling one mile between Trafalgar Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Black taxis become much more cost-effective when you’re in a group of three or more because the cabs can fit up to five people, and you only have to pay one fare between all five of you.

Where is the taxi Lost Property Office?

If you lose something in a London black taxi (but not a minicab) then it will be dealt with by TFL’s Lost Property Office. You can phone them at 0343 222 1234 or use their online form at Postal enquiries should be sent to the TFL Lost Property Office, 200 Baker Street, London NW1 5RZ.

You have to give them a description and wait up to 15 working days, and then pay a fee if they find it.

Your comments and questions

Melissa How many people will a London taxi accommodate? Are there likely to be taxis at Kensington Olympia and Baron's Court stations? Thank you!

Staff They can take a maximum of 5 people, but you have to put all your bags and luggage in the same space, so it will be less if you've got a lot of bags. You are unlikely to see a cab outside Baron's Court, the station is right on the street and they don't have a taxi rank. You'd have to get lucky and flag one down in the street. You might be a bit luckier at Kensington Olympia if there's an event on that day. The only way of being sure is to pre-book one and have it meet you.

Thegrizz Advance planning for four seniors arriving from Canada are looking for travel options from Heathrow o Euston Rail Station. The Tube is by far the least expensive, but probably the most difficult with luggage. Fares on the LHR Express suggest taxi cabs might be a reasonable choice. Would a black or mini have capacity for four adults plus luggage? Would 100 bps fare be about right?

Staff Hi Thegrizz. Black cabs can fit five people, but you have to squeeze all of your luggage into exactly the same space, so it will depend how many bags you've got. Two of them are fold-down seats, and you might not be able to get one of them down if you've got a lot of big bags - but it should be all right for four people. £100 should be at the upper end of what you might pay from Heathrow. It should be a bit cheaper than that. Black cabs are on the meter so the price changes depending on how long it takes.

Gary White Why can't I book a Black Cab to take my wife to a hospital appointment without paying a minimum fee of forty or fifty pounds. If I wave a cab down it only costs 14 to 15 pounds.

Staff If you pre-book a black-cab over the phone they always add on an extra fee, but it's usually only a few quid. I would ask them why it's so much. Or try a minicab company instead, which should be way cheaper.

Denny B What are the rates on New Year’s Day as we need to get from kings cross to emirates stadium

Staff Hi Danny. It’s the same rates as shown in the table above, but you have to pay an extra £4 on top for New Years Day

Sheila Are black cabs mostly dog friendly please?

Staff Hi Sheila. Black taxis are obliged to carry assistance dogs but as far as we are aware normal dogs are at the driver’s discretion, so they can say no if they want to.

Michelle Husband and I are from Australia, needing to travel from Crowne Plaza Hotel near London Heathrow Airport to the centre of Uxbridge at around 8am on a Monday morning. We are planning on catching a Taxi there and back to the hotel within three hours. Any ideas, how long it should take to get there and should we expect the fare to be expensive due to that time of the morning?

Staff Hi Michelle. It’s just over 10 miles so it might take about 30 minutes. You can try emailing one of these taxi companies for a quote -​modes/​taxis-and-minicabs/book-a-taxi?intcmp=4226

Hazel Is there a phone number I can get a price from London fenchurch Street to Chelsea registry office please.

Staff Hi Hazel. If you try that link in the comment above yours then it has a load of companies and phone numbers on it

Frederick I was over charged on the 5th of august. Charged almost double. A whopping 275 pounds from Heathrow to hayling island. I think the meter was broken. I would like to be reimbursed as this is obviously a error with the meter.

Staff Hi Frederick. You need to contact the minicab company you booked it through, or try here if it was a black cab -​help-and-contact/​contact-us-about-taxi-and-private-hire. But I think they're going to tell you the price is correct - it does sound incredibly expensive but it's not out of the ordinary (especially if you were travelling late at night or at the weekend)

KATHERINE PARATHYRAS I am part of a group of 7 people - 5 adults and 2 children. We are arriving on Boxing Day at Heathrow and travelling to Westminster Bridge Park Plaza hotel. We will have 6 full-size suitcases and 7 hand luggage. How many taxis will I need? and how much extra will I pay because it is Boxing Day. Thank you.

Staff Hi Katherine. A taxi fits five people so normally two should do it, but like it says above you have to squeeze all of your luggage into the same space and you’ve got a lot of bags and suitcases, so you might not be able to fold down the two single seats. So you might only get three people per taxi. You have to pay an extra £4 over the Christmas period.

patrick spedding What is the best taxi to get me from euston station to the thai embassy london

Staff As long as its not a crazy hour you can always get a black taxi out the front of euston station.

Lnick Hello! Should 4 people and 4 22kg suitcases fit into one black cab? Are the cabs readily available at all Heathrow terminals? IF so do we just look for one with the orange light on and approach it?

Staff Hi Lnick. if you mean 22 litres (cabin size) then it should be okay. 22 kg could be any size. There are taxi ranks outside all of the heathrow terminals where they sit and wait for passengers, so just go up to the taxi at the front of the line

Dicken Is it possible to pre-book the Black Taxi online?

Staff Hi Dicken. You can do — it’s explained in the ‘How can you pre-book a black taxi online?“ section above

Sarah Is it possible to get lost property back any earlier than ten days?

Staff Hi Sarah. Actually it's gone up a bit. They now say it might take up to 15 working days, but you can always give them a ring to see if they've found it sooner (they discourage people from visiting the office in person).

Megan What is the diameter of a black cab? Would it fit a panel of 129cm x 145cm?

Staff Hi Megan. We're not sure if this applies to every single black cab, but the typical measurements for the door are width 88cm, height 135cm. Inside the cab it's width 142cm, height 140cm

Samantha Blackmore-Smith I and my friend will be coming to London via plane landing at Stansted airport in 14th September. I was wondering how much is it for us to hail a black taxi down to my sister at 63 Walpole Road, London. Or We could catch black taxi from Liverpool Station to my sister's place. That way we could catch Stanstend express train to Liverpool street station.

Staff Hi Samantha, We cant hive quotes, but you can get a rough idea from the prices listed in the airport table on this page.

Caroline Will there be black taxi cabs waiting outside Fenchurch Street Station at 6am on a weekday.

Staff Hi Caroline. There's a taxi rank outside the front entrance, so you shouldn't have to wait long

Terry Do the cabs charge for each suitcase you have with you?

Staff Hi Terry. They don't charge extra for bags.

Maree We would like to catch a black taxi from Globe Theatre to Chelsea after a show, and have a small drive around the city on the way to see the sights by night. Do we need to prebook at the Globe or are they usually waiting there after a show? And how can I calculate this fare? it would be approx 40 mins drive time we think.

Staff H Maree. The Globe's down by the river, not on a main road, so you won't have any luck hailing a taxi outside. Best thing to do is phone a taxi company and order one to meet you at a specific time. They can give you a quote at the same time -​modes/​taxis-and-minicabs/book-a-taxi

Maree Can we book a black taxi to pick us up from the Globe? or only other types of taxis?

Staff Lots of different companies provide black taxis. There's not just one number - try a google search for "london black taxi hire". Some companies actually provide tours as well -​events/​?p=48935

Jo Italy Do I need a car seat for a toddler

Staff Hi Jo. The law seems to say that you can travel without one, provided the taxi doesn't have one -​child-car-seats-the-rules/​when-a-child-can-travel-without-a-car-seat

Hyacinth Black cabs are very safe, they maybe a little more expensive, but you will always get to your destination without the driver telling you that he is not quite sure of where the place is. Even with TOMTOM minicab can still take you around the world and back before getting to your destination

Gerard kijak Would a black cab drive me to bournemouth?

Staff Hi Gerard. they're not obliged to accept a journey of that distance, but they might do - its up to the driver. It might be better to book it in advance over the phone, so you know the driver is okay with it

mark Can you pay in cash for a black taxi and also when they drop you off, can you ask them to pick you back up

Staff Hi Mark. You can pay with cash. The driver might be willing to wait, and keep his meter running the whole time, but it's unlikely he'll return at a particular time because he won't know where he'll be. The normal way to do it is to pre-book over the phone, and have a few quid added onto the fare.

Ace Grabbed a cab to get to a nearby Ibis Hotel and was charged £30 and was advised by the driver this was a flat fee for all nearby hotels. The ride was no more than 3 minutes. Feel like we were scammed. Beware! Ask for an estimate of the fare before you enter. Turns out we could have caught a shuttle bus for £6.80

Staff Hi Ace. If it was a black cab that shouldnt have happened, but if it was a minicab then there are some dodgy ones about

Sharon We are arriving in Apr 2024 at Paddington station around 8am. How much does it cost for 2 persons, with 2 large check in luggage and 2 cabin size luggage, from Paddington Station to Page 8 Hotel at St Martin's Place? also, can we (2 persons) with all the luggage fit into a black cab?

Staff Hi Sharon. We don't give quotes but it's just under 3 miles, so it could be anything from £13 to £23 depending on whether it's a weekday or weekend and how long the journey takes. You should be able to get everything into one taxi

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