Data is king in some sectors, and the taxi industry is no different. Knowing your market and who is more likely to use your business is key when trying to sell your services to would-be customers efficiently.
So, who are the punters in the back of a cab?
With the help of the National Travel Survey (NTS), a household survey completed by over 16,000 individuals in England every year, we are able to look at the latest data based on personal travel behaviour across England.
According to the NTS data, in 2019 the average person in England made 11 taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) trips and travelled 59 miles by taxi or PHV, which is an increase from 10 trips and a decrease from 62 miles in 2018.
The distance travelled by taxi or PHV has increased by 10% over the last 10 years (from 54 miles in 2009), but the number of trips has remained broadly stable. The average taxi trip in 2019 lasted 20 minutes, the same as in 2018.
Why do people travel by taxi or PHV?
Over half (51%) of trips in taxis or PHVs were taken for leisure purposes, a small increase on 2018 (47%). The second most common purpose for a taxi ride was shopping (14% of trips).
How often do people use taxis or PHVs?
Most people (58%) rarely use a taxi or PHV (at most twice a year). However, around a quarter (28%) travel by taxi or PHV at least once a month and 9% of people travel by taxi or PHV on a weekly basis. This has been broadly stable since 2010.
In 2019, the number of taxi or PHV trips made by adults aged 16 or over with mobility difficulties has increased from 16 trips per person per year in 2010 to 21 trips per person per year. Similarly to the previous year, adults with mobility difficulties use taxis or PHVs more than people without mobility difficulties (21 trips per person vs. 11 trips per person).
Taxi or PHV usage makes up 3% of all trips for those with mobility difficulties, compared to just 1% for those without mobility difficulties. These figures have remained broadly stable since 2010.
Age and gender
In 2019, on average, women made more taxi or PHV trips than men (12 trips per person per year compared with 10 trips per person per year respectively). Women aged 70+ made 61% more trips than men of this age (13 trips per person per year compared with 8 trips per person per year respectively).
Although women make more taxi or PHV trips, both men and women travelled 59 miles per person by taxi or PHV in 2019.
In 2019, on average, people in households without access to a car made 4 times as many taxi or PHV trips than those with access to a car (28 trips per person vs. 7 trips per person respectively), and travelled over twice as far (103 miles per person vs. 50 miles per person respectively). This pattern has remained broadly stable since 2002.
Similarly to last year, people in the lowest real income quintile made 15 taxi or PHV trips, more than any other income quintile. However, those in the highest real income level travelled further by taxi or PHV, on average 70 miles per person per year, while those in the lowest quintile travelled 69 miles per person per year.
How far are taxi or PHV trips?
In 2019, the majority (48%) of taxi or PHV trips were between 2 and 5 miles. This was almost double the proportion of trips of the same distance travelled by all modes (25%). In contrast, the majority (43%) of all trips were under 2 miles: just under a quarter (24%) of taxi or PHV trips were under 2 miles.