How to book a taxi in the UK

How to book a taxi in the UK

In the UK, taxis are a popular way to get around – particularly in urban areas. Taxis can be hailed on the street, booked over the phone, on a website or via mobile booking apps.

To understand how to book a taxi in the UK, you first need to understand the different types of taxis:

Types of taxis

In the UK, you will commonly come across two types of taxis: black cabs and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs).

  • Cabs: also known as ‘Hackney Carriage’ cabs. Easily recognisable with a ‘TAXI’ sign on their roof, and in London by their vehicles’ distinctive black colour, cabs can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi ranks. They are licenced to by their local council to pick up passengers without prior booking and are equipped with meters to calculate fares based on distance and time at rates set by the local council.
  • Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs): PHVs, also known as minicabs, must be pre-booked through a licenced Private Hire Operator, either by phone, online, or through a mobile booking app. Unlike black cabs, PHVs cannot pick up passengers without prior booking and do not have meters; instead, fixed fares are set by the Operator and agreed upon when booking a ride

In London, a driver can only be a cab driver or minicab driver, however in most areas outside, they can be licensed as both types.

As well as cabs and Private Hire Vehicles (PHV), there is a third type of similar transport used for travellers who want a premium service known as a chauffeur service:

  • Chauffeur: Chauffeur services offer a premium level of transportation, with professional drivers and high-end vehicles. These services are typically pre-booked for special occasions or business travel, providing a luxurious and personalised experience.

Booking a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) Taxi:

Booking a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) is a straightforward process. Many licenced taxi operators offer booking services by phone, website booker, or mobile booking app.

To book a ride, you need to provide your pick-up location, destination, and any specific requirements, such as vehicle type or wheelchair accessibility, and the operator will arrange for a taxi to pick you up at the specified time.

Once the ride is confirmed, most taxi booking apps give customers access to their assigned driver’s profile, ratings and live driver tracking for extra security and convenience.

Payment Options

If paying for your taxi ride directly with a driver, most drivers accept cash and card payments. However, it is always a good idea to confirm payment options with the driver before starting your journey, especially if you prefer to pay by card.

In 2024, most taxi apps also have technical integrations on their booking apps or website bookers, allowing customers to pay for their trip via card, Apple Pay and Google Pay without needing to sort out payment with the driver directly.

So, what is the best taxi for a UK tourist?

If you are new to a city or the UK, we recommend booking a Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) because of the added peace of mind that pre-booking a ride offers.

Customers can lock in the availability of a driver in advance and typically at a more competitive, fixed price, with the backup of customer support via the app or by calling its customer service team.

But with over 15,000 licenced private hire operators in the UK, it can be difficult to know which licenced taxi operator is best suited for you – that’s where minicabit comes in!

minicabit enables you to instantly compare fixed quotes from over 1,000 licenced taxi operators across 550 UK cities and towns to find you the cheapest option for your ride. Operators and their drivers are independently rated by customers after their trip, with minicabit offering 24/7 support across phone, live chat and email. It is also the UK’s highest rated cab service on Trustpilot.

Visit to start comparing your UK taxi ride today.