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DON’T OVERTAKE A TAXI WITH YOUR LIGHT ON: Why this is a big no in the cabbie rule book

Updated: Feb 26



In the bustling streets of London, where the iconic black cab is a symbol of the city's transport network, professional etiquette among taxi drivers is key.


A fundamental rule of the road, often passed down through generations of cabbies, emphasises the importance of not overtaking or undertaking an "empty for hire" taxi to snatch the next job. This practice, deemed both rude and dishonest, undermines the collegial respect that should be strong among drivers.

The essence of this unwritten code is simple: wait your turn. This principle ensures that the first driver in line for a fare gets the job, maintaining a sense of fairness and order. However, there are taxi divers that break this etiquette, with some drivers turning off their "for hire" lights to overtake their peers, only to cut back in and switch the light on again further up the road. Such tactics, though cunning, usually do not go unnoticed, sparking heated discussions among the cabbies.


These disputes, often meaningless to passengers just trying to get a taxi, threaten the integrity of the profession that underpins the taxi service industry. Social media groups dedicated to taxi drivers have become hotspots for calling out such behaviour, highlighting the actions of a notorious few who choose to flout the rules.

While it's acknowledged that the majority of London's taxi drivers adhere to a gold standard of conduct, respecting the unwritten rules that facilitate a fair and orderly system for picking up passengers, the actions of a minority can lead to conflict. The cabbie code of etiquette, rooted in common sense and courtesy, is not just about maintaining order; it's about preserving a tradition of respect that has long defined London's taxi drivers.

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