The famous London Black Cab

Article reviewed: 2013/02/01 | Next review due: 2014/08/20

To get around London, you can use taxis or the famous ‘black cabs’ found throughout the city. Fares are quite expensive in comparison with public transport, however if you have a journey with many interchanges, it can often be the simplest form of transport.

The black cab is the official taxi of London and they are allowed to use bus lanes, so they are a great way of beating the traffic!

These taxis have lights on their roofs, showing when it is free (if the light is off, the taxi is already in use). This means that from a distance it’s easy to see if the taxi can be stopped or not.

These taxis are considered to be the best in the world. In fact, to become a black cab driver in London you have to pass a series of rigorous tests on the geography of the city, which includes every street name in central London. The exam is called ‘The Knowledge’ and it is famous for it’s difficulty.

Whilst fares may seem expensive, remember that you can share your cab with up to 5 people, meaning that within a group, per person the fare may actually be very reasonable.


You can hail a cab (with it’s light on) on the street, outside a bar, near a station, anywhere you see one.

You can also book by phone at:

  • Call-A-Cab: 020 8901 4444
  • ComCab: 020 7908 0207
  • DataCab: 020 7432 1540
  • Dial-A-Cab: 020 7253 5000
  • Radio-Taxis: 020 7272 0272

or by text message: send "home" to 60835.

How to recognise

If it's a black cab, you'll recognize the look of this typical London taxi. If their roof light is on, then that taxi is free to hail down. If the taxi doesn’t stop but has it’s light on, then you can take a note of their licence plate and report them to TFL.

Take care that your taxi has a TFL sticker on the windshield; a taxi withouth this sticker is illegal and should be avoided.

Tooltip information:

  • TFL: Transport for London

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