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How does a taxi meter work and when can fixed price fares work for both passenger and cabbie?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023


Image credit: LEVC

Taxi meters are devices that are used to calculate the fare for a taxi ride. They typically use a combination of time and distance measurements to determine the fare.


When a taxi ride begins, the driver starts the meter. The meter uses a timer to measure the amount of time that has elapsed since the ride began, and a distance sensor to measure the distance that the taxi has traveled.

The distance sensor is typically connected to the taxi's wheels or transmission, and measures the rotation of the wheels to determine the distance traveled. The meter also takes into account any additional charges or fees, such as tolls or surcharges.


The fare is calculated based on a formula, specific to where the taxi is licensed, that takes into account the time, distance, and any additional charges. The meter then displays the fare on a screen, and the passenger is expected to pay the amount shown when the ride is complete.

Will taxi drivers accept a ‘fixed fare’?


A fixed price taxi fare, also known as a flat-rate fare, is a predetermined price that a passenger is charged for a taxi ride, regardless of the actual time or distance of the trip.


Unlike a traditional taxi fare, which is calculated based on the distance traveled and time elapsed during the trip, a fixed price fare is agreed upon in advance between the passenger and the driver or taxi company.


Fixed price taxi fares can sometimes be beneficial for passengers because they provide certainty about the cost of the trip, regardless of any unexpected traffic or route changes. This can make it easier for passengers to budget and plan their transportation expenses.

There are also some benefits to drivers if the fare is covers dead mileage or travelling in the direction of home at the end of their shift. For longer journeys taxi drivers may entertain offers of flat rates fares from customers, however run of the mill journeys will likely run from the meter.


In London and other regions, taxi drivers cannot charge more than the metered price.

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