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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

London taxi fares set to rise by 2.3%

Transport for London says the average cost of hailing a black cab will increase to £10.39 during the day and £14.15 at night

A london taxi or black cab at night

Despite pay freezes elsewhere, London taxi fares are set to rise to take into account rising operating costs Photograph: Getty

Londoners, daytrippers and tourists who make use of the capital's black taxis will be familiar with a tightening in the throat and sweaty palms when it comes to paying what often appears to be an astronomical fare. This is set to get worse from today as taxi fares in the capital defy the pay freezes in place elsewhere, and rise by 2.3%.

The average cost of hailing a black cab will increase to £10.39 during the day and £14.15 at night, according to Transport for London (TFL). The fare rise, the lowest annual increase since 2004, aims to take into account the rise in average national earnings and will also help drivers cover rising operating costs, which include increases to insurance and fuel costs, it said. Earlier this week, petrol prices rose to an average of £1.20 a litre, the highest on record.

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "The capital is blessed with wonderful cabbies and we've deliberated long and hard to come up with an increase we think is fair to everyone during these tough economic times."

Bob Oddy, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association, said: "We welcome this small but important increase. Like everyone else, London's cabbies continue to face significant challenges."

While taxis drivers might breath a sigh of relief at the rise, passengers are likely to be less impressed. Anyone making a journey of more than a few miles will be used to paying substantially more than the average price quoted by TFL.

Before today's rise is taken into account, to travel six miles in the capital cost between £17 and £33, depending on the time of day and how long the journey takes. Meanwhile, a journey between Heathrow and central London typically cost between £40 and £75, though delays or heavy traffic can make this higher.

A separate scheme due to start this autumn will see the cost of a taxi from central London to elsewhere in the capital rise to up to £50. The "golden fares" scheme, devised by Westminster council, will operate from a taxi rank in Leicester Square on Friday and Saturday nights and will require passengers to pay before they get in the taxi.

Minimum rates will start at £20 for up to three miles and will rise to £30 for seven-mile trips. Ten-mile journeys will cost £40, while journeys up to 12 miles will cost £50.

However, price increases are unlikely to deter people from taking the capital's black cabs. Last year the vehicles were voted the best taxis in the world in a survey for the website, despite also being voted the most expensive. London cabbies, who can spend up to four years studying the Knowledge, the infamous in-depth study of a number of pre-set London street routes, were voted the world's friendliest and knowledgeable taxi drivers.

How much will you pay for a taxi in other cities?

City; initial meter charge (£); rate per mile (£); cost of a 10 mile journey

New York City 1.51 1.21 £13.61

Beijing 0.88 0.27 £3.58

Tokyo 4.51 3.20 £36.51

Dubai 0.49 0.43 £4.79

Paris 1.90 1.19 £13.80

Rome 2.41 1.27 £15.11

Mexico 1.11 0.45 £5.61

Source: Mercer Cost of Living survey comparison, September 2009

Comments in chronological order (Total 12 comments)

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  • cycleloopy cycleloopy

    10 Apr 2010, 12:41AM

    I think it is a dead cert that Londoners / Tourists / Businesses will not be put off hopping into a taxi simply because of the fare increase. Instead, what will happen is that we will hand over more of our hard-earned dosh for the extragavance.

    Black cabs have always been expensive. So have mini-cabs, If you want something badly enough - whether it is getting you to an interview that you are running late for, or can't be bothered to wait for the bus in the pouring rain, or just want to have the snog ithat you are dying for in the back of the black cab - you will pay whatever is on the meter.

    Cyclehire scheme in London from May may have more of an impact on taxis than a 2.3% increase. Now that is another story...

  • CuthbertB CuthbertB

    10 Apr 2010, 9:17AM

    I lived in London for over 22 years and never got a cab once. The tubes run about 19 hours a day, there are night buses, you can walk or cycle. Moaning about taxi fares going up is a bit like moaning about the price of caviar. On top of that you get some fat slob who fought in the Falklands going on about bringing back the stocks for thought crimes committed by socialists. Getting a cab is akin to reading the Mail or subscribing to Fox News while you get stuck in traffic and overtaken by pedestrians. Taxi drivers will compensate for this rise in the obvious way - declare an even smaller percentage of their real income than they already do.

  • loverlover loverlover

    10 Apr 2010, 11:40AM


    How can you have lived here for 22 years and still have such a half-arsed idea of cabbies? There are 23,000 odd of them - you think they're all as you describe? I've been a guardian reader for 20 years. Admittedly only a cabbie for six months so maybe I'll betray everything I hold dear someday soon and start spouting the kind of shite you imagine all 23000 of us regularly spout.

    For general information purposes, my (eight year old) cab costs £170 a week to rent. I put 20-25 quid diesel in it every day I work. I put a hundred quid a week away for tax (and being a socialist who believes in the tax system I declare every penny I come home with). In other words, I have to make about 400-450 a week just to break even. A lot of the time, if I worked 9-5 like the rest of you, I'd take home about a hundred quid a week, so I have to work considerably longer hours to make a decent living, usually 10 to 12 hours a day.

    Yes, London taxis are expensive at night, but we work deeply anti-social hours, see our friends and families less than you and have large overheads to cover (and with the current price of diesel, getting ever larger). We also don't set the price ourselves, parliament does, so there's not much point moaning to us about it.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but if someone thinks I've taken them the scenic route (which I haven't, I've just used a different route than they think I should've), I'm happy to discuss the matter and knock a couple of quid off. If someone's up front with me and says "I need to get here but I've only got this much money", I'll help them out if I can. I keep my mouth shut until I'm spoken to (apart from when I picked Jimmy Page up a few weeks ago, when you couldn't have shut me up if you tried) and I'm definitely not fat or a slob.

    So have you got any more moronic cliches to bring to the party or do you want to find something you actually know about to pass comment on?

  • bitterantwisted bitterantwisted

    10 Apr 2010, 12:52PM

    Taxis are so expensive in this country because the cost of running a cab is so high. Black cab drivers are forced to buy heavy, gas guzzling taxis which cost a fortune to maintain. The drivers are hit with a triple whammy at the moment, they have to fork out extra for fuel, extra for maintenance (because our roads are not maintained correctly) at a time when fare paying passengers are falling.
    It is getting to the stage when some drivers are actually paying to work some days!!

  • sham144 sham144

    10 Apr 2010, 2:58PM

    Why would anyone be so stupid to use a black cab??!! OVERPRICED, just like everything else in "RIP OFF Britain"!! I would rather use a minicab which is a lot cheaper!!

    Just use the public transport which isn't too bad, and you will probably get to the destination quicker!!

  • bitterantwisted bitterantwisted

    10 Apr 2010, 5:09PM


    Black cabs do own the road because they drive and contribute more to those roads than any other class of motorist.

    Taxi drivers appear inconsiderate, but in reality they could drive circles around an ordinary motorist in the time it takes that motorist to change gear. Taxi drivers have less accidents per mile driven than any other motorist because they are professional drivers and accidents cost money.

  • bitterantwisted bitterantwisted

    10 Apr 2010, 5:14PM


    I think you must be a minicab driver...all cabs use the same fare structure. Black cabs have to pay more money for the upkeep of their vehicle than someone with a dodgy astra. However black cabs have an advantage over minicabs and that is safety, both for the driver and the passenger.

  • ceesview ceesview

    10 Apr 2010, 7:13PM

    Why are the older, long written down, petrol guzzling/heavy polluting black cabs charged out at the same mileage rate as the expensive newer models?

    But then why are they still on the road; every other cab is usually empty and adding to unnecessary air pollution so why allow the older model to continue polluting at even higher emmisions?

    They were condemned about three years ago and then Livingstone spared them at the last minute. What a joke. Why?

  • Personal Personal

    10 Apr 2010, 8:34PM

    These rises aren't too large at all. In fact, at the moment they are less than inflation which means that the real pay of black cab drivers is actually falling (only by a little bit mind).

  • MsBlog MsBlog

    11 Apr 2010, 3:22AM

    So London taxis rise by 2.3%, fairly similar to the general increase in inflation of 2-3%. "The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "The capital is blessed with wonderful cabbies and we've deliberated long and hard to come up with an increase we think is fair to everyone during these tough economic times."

    More outrageous is the recent increase in bus fares, from £1 to £1.20, a rise in 20%, at a time of low inflation. Clearly, poorer residents of London will travel by bus, and it those (usually on pay-as-you-go as the upfront cost of a season ticket is high) who have been hit hardest by the increase in bus fares. Ken Livingstone admirably kept the bus fares at a reasonable level, while as soon as Boris got the chance, he hiked up bus fares. Very typical of Conservative politicians, shafting the poor, while keeping rich Londoners who use these black cabs, happy.

  • jerry01 jerry01

    12 Apr 2010, 12:48PM

    black cab drivers are FAR from wonderful. Granted, there are exceptions. Granted, if you give them 30 quid for a 25 minutes drive they are civil and they will humour you. But by and large they are inconsiderate and downright agressive to other road users. Most only use they're indicators to avoid liaibilities in the near collisions they are cuasing - forcing their way.

    Worse, the other day i saw a black cab honk several time to a foreigh passenger who's just alighted, so that the fee-paying visitor would have to close the door.

    Even worse, 2 days later i saw a woman on crutches struggle to get out of a cab with a bad. Do you think for a second that the cabbie would help? Have you ever seen a cabbie open a door? or help with luggage? The most effort they'll go into is hauntily buzz they window down whilst you crouch to ask if they're interested in your destination. (although less of that with the crisis).

    I suspect most people who use black cabs are politicians or business people on expenses. Cabbies might be of the people but not for the people.

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