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SAFE TRAVEL AT NIGHT: TfL details do’s and don’t's for public hailed taxis and pre-booked minicabs

Image credit: TfL

While London’s buses, tubes and trains provide a safe and affordable option for travel throughout the night, TfL is also reminding Londoners of how to safely use publicly hailed taxis and pre-booked private minicabs.  


TfL is boosting its Safer Travel at Night activity across London, reminding people of the dangers of unbooked minicabs, and providing advice on how to safely get a taxi or booked minicab home – with the main message that if a minicab is not booked, it’s illegal and unsafe. Booking a minicab means that there is a record of the journey, the driver and vehicle used, so in the event of any problems the driver can be traced.    

Enforcement activity is being stepped up by the police and TfL to crack down on unbooked minicabs and other illegal activity by targeting priority locations across the capital.     


Thousands of taxi and minicab journeys are taken every day, the vast majority without incident. If passengers experience any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable from a taxi or private hire driver, they can report it by dialling 999 if it is an emergency or calling 101. All reports are taken seriously and will be investigated.    

Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance and Policing at TfL, said: “We want everyone to enjoy themselves and all that London has to offer during the festive season, but safety is paramount. Working alongside the police, our TfL enforcement officers will be out in numbers over the next few weeks to tackle illegal minicabs, and check that licensed drivers and vehicles meet our standards.   


“Our public transport network is operating through the night, but our message to anyone who wants to use a minicab is to make sure it’s booked with a licensed operator and check before getting in.   


“London at Christmastime can be a wonderful place to be, but it will be busy, and we encourage everyone to travel safely and look out for each other.”    


When using a black cab, people should remember:    

  • Black cabs are different to minicabs, they can be approached on the street or at taxi ranks 

  • Black cabs do not need to be pre-booked, but can be via app, phone or online   

  • All of London’s black cabs are wheelchair accessible.    


When using a minicab, people should remember:    

  • A minicab must be booked through a licensed minicab operator otherwise it is illegal and not safe  

  • Bookings can be made via a booking app, phone, email or at a minicab office    

  • When booking a minicab, confirmation should be received highlighting the driver and vehicle details and their photo  

  • Private hire operators will have a record of the journey, the driver and the vehicle used so that, in the event of any problems, the driver can be traced.    


As well as reminding the public of how they can stay safe and targeting hotspots for unbooked minicabs, TfL officers will be speaking directly to minicab operators to remind them of their responsibilities towards passenger safety.    

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