Hiring a Taxi-cab in London is an exact science. Every true born Londoner learns the essential art of hiring a taxi quite early on in life, as the concept of a private car is as nonexistent as it is impractical for anyone living in London. For a beginner, say someone who has recently moved to London or is visiting, understanding how meters calculate fares and (if possible) how to reasonably negotiate over them, can be a
daunting task. So to put the new comers at ease, here’s a 3 step guide to help get your head around… well London.
All drivers will demand a minimum fare of 2.40 pounds. Usually the payment agreed upon is made at the end of the journey, but this is not a necessity. Also drivers can be expected to agree on any drive up to 12 miles or for one hour duration, if the destination is in Greater London and accept any hiring up to 20 miles if starting from Heathrow Airport. The maximum a fare can be is the one shown on the meter.
The Distance and Time Hypothesis:
The fare mounting up depends on two main factors: distance travelled, and time of day. The fare goes up by roughly 2 pounds for every mile starting with a minimum of about 5-6 pounds for the first mile. The time of day is another huge factor, with fares being at their lowest from early morning to afternoon (plenty o’ customers going to work), and highest from eleven in the night to early morning. The rise in rates as the day progresses is almost exponential… so it’s wise to pick suitable hours to do most of one’s travelling in. Also expect the fare to be higher on weekends and public holidays (traffic).
This particular stop has its own, somewhat fixed, fare. Heathrow Airport is about 15 miles from Central London, and the drive is expected to be roughly forty-five minutes long. Depending on the time of day and traffic, the fare can be expected to fall between 45 to 80 pounds… so pick a Monday morning flight!