Anyone who has watched a movie or any video footage of London surely saw the iconic black cabs on the streets. The more traditional name for these taxis is hackneys or hackney carriages. After Big Ben and the House of Parliament these taxis are probably the most well known. New York has its yellow taxis but London cabs, with all due respect for New Yorkers, are far more charming, iconic, and with greater history behind them.
Tourists will have a blast riding the London black hackneys, taking pictures of them or selfies inside of them. They’ll probably learn about the history of the black cabs either on the internet or through a friendly chat with the driver. These are all interesting little factoids but from a practicality perspective it doesn’t mean much. Tourists and people who are visiting London for the first time need to know a few things so they don’t get burned. Taxi scams are all too often in most big tourist cities around the world and while London regulations do a good job of keeping it at a minimum it’s always good to have some additional knowledge.
The first thing that people need to know is that there is a register of authorized taxi drivers. Riding about the town in any cab will undoubtedly be a fun endeavor but it might be a risky affair riding with a driver that is not licensed. Individuals who want to become black cab drivers need to pass something they call The Knowledge test. It’s a way for them to demonstrate their intimate knowledge of the city streets. Taxi drivers can gain two different types of badges. A yellow one with which they show good knowledge of suburban areas and a green one that can only be gained with good knowledge of the entire city. Getting a green badge is tremendously difficult. These are the first things you should check for.
However people who want to scam and hustle others are a constant presence, no matter which city you are in. Some of these swindlers who pose as cab drivers may charge you significantly more, drive around the city needlessly just to pump up the fare etc. In other major cities illegitimate cab drivers often commit far more horrific crimes so it’s always good taking precautions.
So how can you avoid being cheated or at least minimize the risk? Using an online service is almost bound to cost you less. Cab drivers sometimes take advantage of people who are in a rush by charging them extra. And let’s face it, they know very well that a person in an expensive looking suite who’s in a rush to get to the airport won’t care about the price he pays for the ride. And in a big city like London cab drivers develop this mentality of “you need us, we don’t need you”. And they’re kind of right we suppose.
How can you book a London taxi? The simplest way by far is using the Cabwise app. It’s available for android and iOS devices. Thanks to the app people can leave reviews and because of this it offers other potential customers crucial information on whether they should use someone’s services. By creating this kind of environment it forces business to compete. The internet is a wonderful tool and in instances like this it really makes a difference.
Using Cabwise will most definitely save you time and money. Booking a cab in this manner is easy, simple, and the most reliable. And it’s important to note that only licensed cabs appear in the app. There are other apps and websites that offer a similar service, feel free to check them out, just make sure they also only deal with licensed and registered drivers.