London taxis and private hire industry – Did you know?

We have tried to gather a few interesting aspects of the private hire industry in London and hope that will intrigue and please you. Many of us guess, more are talking about but few know that:

1) To be a London black cab driver you have to know around 25.000 streets and approximately 50.000 attractions? The test that you have to pass it is called The Knowledge and it’s the most difficult course in the world for taxi drivers. Usually you need almost 3 years to prepare for it.

2) The famous London black cab does not have to be black? Other colors like green, white, blue and red are allowed.

3) Until 1976 the minicabs in London were obliged to have a stack of oats and a bale of hay – although many are saying that this is only a myth.

4) One of the requirements of a cab is to be tall enough to support a person that is wearing a bowler hat.

5) There is a difference between taxis and minicabs. Taxis can be hired from a taxi rank or stopped in the street. Minicabs or private hire vehicles can’t be stopped or hailed in the street and need to be booked in advance.

6) Contrary to other locations where the private hire sector functions on a fleet basis, almost all taxis in London are owned by the driver and essentially are independent firms.

7) That in the last update from 2013 in London there were approximately 25.000 black cab drivers and around 67.000 private hire drivers.

8) One of the oldest regulations dating from 1906 demands that a black cab must make a full turn in a 7.6m or 25 feet circle. That is because the cabs must be able to navigate some of the narrowest streets of London.

9) The first recordings of what we call today a taxi ride where registered around the early 1600’s. That is when horse-drawn carriages began to be hired to take people from a place to another.

10) By this day there are only 3 kinds of black taxis that can be produced and are approved by the Metropolitan Police and Public Carriage Office: the Asquith, Fariway and Metrocab and that is because the cars must comply with strict rules in design and functionality.

11) The age of the oldest driver is known to be 92, working for 75 years in this industry.

12) In London it is forbidden to transport a corpse or a rabid hound.

13) In Latin the term taxa means charge and from it, derives the word taximeter.

14) The name ‘taxicab’ occurs from the mix of taximeter and cabriolet.

We are sure that still many fun facts are out there to be discovered about the London cabs and private hire industry and we invite you to tag along and add yours and if the discussion will be interesting for everyone maybe we will try to assemble fun facts about taxicabs all around the world.