Londoners or tourists visiting the capital of the United Kingdom should not miss the opportunity of taking a black taxi. This form of transport has survived for centuries marked by the appearances of the subway and the double-decker bus. This feature and its recognizable appearance made them symbols of London.
The first version was introduced in the late 19th century. The model was a Bersey from 1897, known by the nickname “Hummingbird”, because it made little noise. Many other taxi prototypes appeared after 1930. Some of the most important were FX4, produced by Austin, and Metrocab, produced by Metropolitan Cammell Weymann.
The modern TX1 model replaced them in 1997, providing better accommodation for customers and also for taxi drivers. As noted, many black cabins have a common design – a 25-foot turning circle. These unique characteristics are said to have been given by the round entrance of the well-known Hotel Savoy. Today, London taxis are even used as advertising tools. Many of them can be seen wrapped in colorful advertisements or during UK marketing events.
Another major need for change appeared in late 2010, when London Mayor Boris Johnson proposed an air quality strategy. He wanted to encourage taxi owners to buy low-emission vehicles, such as electric taxis. Transport Minister Philip Hammond announced financial assistance for £ 5,000 electric cars on the same day, a grant intended to motivate the move to this less aggressive form of transport.
As for the “life expectancy” of a black London taxi, it’s supposedly in service for 10 or 12 years. After this period of time, they continue to be used in the field of transport, but in other UK cities, which have different regulations. All others are either purchased by a car collector or end up forgotten in the owner’s garages.
If you travel to London, the official Book black taxi will probably be one of the first things you will see.
You should complete your experience with a ride in one of the city’s black street taxis and also in prominent places like the mainline train, subway and bus stations. Booths are available only if the yellow TAXI sign on the front is illuminated.
Different models of taxis.
You can choose from three models of taxis with different shapes currently working in the London area. One of them is The Fairway, which kept the shape that everyone imagines a London taxi would be, but will be gradually replaced by the TX1 and TX2, which are the newer models. You can differentiate these taxis from the first ones due to the rounded shape that characterizes them. The latest cabin model is the Metrocab which has a square shape.
In addition to the various types of models you can choose from for your London trip, you should also keep in mind that the black cabins have acquired many improvements in passenger safety and driver comfort.
Rates and Tips
There is a minimum charge of £ 2.40 but additional charges may apply. If you take a black cab on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve from Heathrow Airport or make a reservation over the phone, the price will be a little high. Most black taxis accept payment by credit or debit card, but you should be aware of the fact that this will attract additional charges, so it is best to ask the driver first. If you are satisfied with the service provided, you can tip the taxi driver. This is not mandatory and most passengers round to the nearest pound.