Heathrow Airport is located on the outskirts of London and is a taxi ride away from the capital city. Taxi Drivers in London must be fully licensed and are required to pass an exam covering extensive road and directions knowledge.
A report issued in 2015 shows that there are almost 85,000 licensed ‘hackney carriage’ cabs operating in London. They are typically coloured black but can also found in a range of other colours. The traditional London Taxi can carry up to 5 passengers and their luggage.
Getting to London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport is located near Hounslow, Middlesex in West London and was previously known as just ‘London Airport’ between the years of 1946 and until 1965. Heathrow is the busiest Airport in both England and Europe, it is the fourth busiest in the world.
Since the closure of Terminal 1 in June 2015, there are now 4 operational terminals at the Airport, with the largest, T5, being used exclusively by British Airways and Iberia.
What’s the difference between a London Black Taxi or Cab
A London Taxi, Black Taxi or Cab are all the same type of taxi, the official name for these taxis is the Hackney Carriage. The term Hackney Carriage just refers to a taxicab operating in Greater London and licensed by the Public Carriage Office.
Taxi Drivers in London are required to pass ‘London’s The Knowledge’ prior to becoming an official Driver. The test is designed to question the driver’s knowledge of London streets, locations of important and popular buildings as well as having a general geographical understanding of the city, including knowing the quickest routes to take!
London Hackney Carriage Taxicabs can be hailed down from anywhere within the city of London’s Greater limits. The yellow ‘taxi’ light on the roof of the cab will be lit whenever the taxi is available to be hailed down for a fare. Hackney carriages are also licensed for any pre-booked journeys. Other Airport Transfer services, such as private hire vehicles cannot legally be hailed down and any trip must be booked in advance.
Travellers are advised to pre-book their taxi for safety and for the cheapest deal, passengers should also check the driver’s license and council plate.
The Iconic London Black Cab
The London Black Cab vehicles themselves are an iconic landmark for London. The vehicles used by officially licensed London Cabs were originally the Austin FX4, this was then succeeded by the LTI TXI, the TXII and the TX4. They all look similar with their dome shaped roof and more often than not, the actual taxi will be mainly black coloured. Recent years have seen the rise of several different colours, including the 50 Limited Edition Gold Taxis to celebrate the Queens’ Jubilee in 2002.
Taxi Costs for Heathrow Airport Taxis
Here is an official breakdown of the taxi prices you can expect to be charged in London during the day:
|Minimum Taxi Cost
|£2.40 (first 252 meters)
|Fare over 252 meters
|£0.20 per 126 meters – (until £17.40 charge reached)
|Fare after £17.40 reached
|£0.20 per 88.5 meters
|£26.27 per hour
|Waiting Costs breakdown
|£0.20 per 27.4 seconds.
|22:00 – 6:00
|Night Booking Fee
|Night Minimum Cost
|£2.40 (first 165 meters)
|Night cost after 165 meters
|£0.20 per mile 82.5 meters (until £25.40 charge reached)
|Night Costs above £25.40 charge
|£0.20 per 88.5 meters
|Night Waiting Costs
|£40.22 per hour
|Peak Hour Timings
|20:00 – 22:00
|Peak Booking Fee
|Peak Min. Fare
|£2.40 (first 205 meters)
|Peak Fare after 205 meters
|£0.20 per 102.5 meters (until £21 charge reached)
|Peak Fare Over £21 Charge
|£0.20 per 88.5 meters
|Peak Waiting Time Cost
|£32.43 per hour.
|Traffic Affect on Taxi Charges
|5% increase for Moderate Traffic
|Traffic Affect on Taxi Charges
|10% increase for Heavy Traffic
|Heathrow Extra Taxi Charge
|£2.80 per vehicle.
|Between Heathrow and Central London
|Holiday Travel Extra Charges
|£4.00 per Journey (During Christmas and NYE Period).
|Telephone Booking Charge
|£2.00 per booking.
|Bank Card Charge
|£1.00 or 10% of metered fare
|Up to £40 (If taxi requires to be taken out of service)
*Fare – Monday to Friday, 6am – 8pm excluding public holidays
*Peak Fare – Saturday and Sunday 6am – 10pm including Bank Holidays
*Night Fare – Monday – Sunday 10pm – 6am
**These taxi price rates are an estimate from November 2015 and are subject to change. You should use these prices as a guide and where possible, confirm the prices when you book or agree a fare at the taxi rank before getting into a taxi.
Taxi drivers in London do accept tips but they aren’t expected like they are in other countries. Should you feel the driver has earned a tip, the amount is down to you; the most common form of tipping in the UK is for the passenger to round the fare up to the nearest whole £1 or multiple of £5.
Staying Safe in a London Taxi
There have recently been many campaigns encouraging people, especially women, to pre-book their taxi service due to the rising number of offences experienced as a result of travelling in an unlicensed cab. It sounds very dark, but by taking a little bit of extra time to plan your journey, you can reduce the risk of any incidents occurring.
Firstly, as previously mentioned, the first suggestion is to book your taxi in advance. This would create a permanent record of your journey being logged on the cab distributor network.
Pre-booking your cab won’t always be ideal but there are more steps to take to ensure the cab you hail or flag down is legitimate and trustworthy, even by scoping the condition of the vehicle’s exterior would give a clue to the quality. Other vital things to check would be whether the driver’s license is displayed (and the picture matches the actual driver!) and also that a fare card is displayed within the passenger’s compartment.
At the very least, passengers are advised to inspect the driver’s license and council plate.
Famous London Cabs
There are a few celebrities who have chosen to modify versions of a London Black Cab for use in their own day-to-day lives. Although often unexplained, it’s believe that these are popular vehicles for celebs to allow them to easily blend into the city without attracting too much attention. Kate Moss and Prince Philip are amongst these famous London taxi owners.
Any London Taxi vehicle being used as a private mode of transport is not permitted to make use of the Bus or taxi lanes located throughout the city. However Stephen Fry, another well known London Black Cab owner, was once quoted as saying “I sometimes park it on taxi stands all day and no one notices” a unique method discovered for him to avoid receiving parking tickets.
What to do in London
The London Eye, SEA LIFE Aquarium and London Dungeons
Taxi Fare from LHR: £70-£90
These three iconic attractions are conveniently located within close proximity of one another, not far from Waterloo Station. View the River Thames, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from more than 440 ft up, get up close to tiger sharks and visit The Sea Dragon Kingdom and even experience what it’s like to sit in Sweeney Todds’ infamous chair!
Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum
Taxi Fare from LHR: £60-£80
Again, three amazing venues in one place! You can spend a few hours discovering a mix of British History, Engineering and Art. Go Ice Skating at the History Museum, Drop in on a science experiment or simply enjoy a guided tour of the art museum and it’s many interesting exhibitions.
Taxi Fare from LHR: £70-£110
No trip to the Capital city would be complete without a wander down the busiest shopping street in Europe. With over 300 shops, covering everything from big designers, high-street favourites, electrical stores and patisseries, there is something for everyone to spend money on!
Wembley Stadium & Arena
Taxi Fare from LHR: £60-£90
The Stadium is host to many sporting events throughout the year, so catching a Football or Rugby match is a must for any sports fan! Head to the indoor SSE Arena to watch your favourite comedian, music artist in concert or even a wrestling match! You can pre book tickets online, so be sure to check out the event listings.