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TAXI TIP: The orange roof light is not the only way to tell whether a London black taxi is for hire


Image credit: LEVC

Unbeknown to many passengers, London's iconic black taxis have several methods to determine their availability for hire, not just the one iconic orange roof light that many look out for.


Eagle eyed Londoners will look for more than just the familiar orange roof light, and also seek the small orange lights located under the passenger door handles on the older diesel cabs and a ‘For Hire’ light in the front passenger window.

Traditionally, the orange roof light has been the tell-tale sign of an available black taxi. If it’s illuminated, the taxi is looking for work and available. However, some of the older cabs have these small orange lights installed under the door handles on both rear passenger doors. These lights mirror the status of the orange roof light, providing an alternate visual cue for passengers. Again, if the lights are illuminated, it indicates that the taxi is available for hire. Conversely, if the lights are off, it suggests that the driver either has a passenger on board or the taxi is currently out of service.


Furthermore, passengers can also look for a orange or bright blue light in the front passenger window. The distinct blue light signals that the vehicle is currently unavailable and the meter is engaged. However, when the taxi is available and actively seeking passengers, this blue light transforms into an orange glow and also displays the words "For Hire". This light is on all taxis, old and new.

All these indicators aim to provide additional clarity to passengers, ensuring a smoother and more efficient taxi hiring experience. With multiple visual cues available, customers should easily determine whether a black taxi is ready for hire, avoiding any confusion or inconvenience.

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