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For those who have never been to London before the black taxi is something of an icon. Taxis have been transporting people around the capital for centuries and today there are around 23,000 taxis on the road. Travelling by taxi in London certainly isn't cheap, there is a minimum fare of £2.20 and the fare rises by twenty pence for every 219m travelled (approx). However, if you only need to travel a short way and you don't have much tine or its pouring with rain it's a great way to travel.
You can also be extremely confident that once you have got into the taxi the driver will know where your destination is and the quickest route to get there. Every taxi driver must pass 'the knowledge', a test which takes 2 years to study for. In total each taxi driver must memorise around 25,000 streets near to central London and be able to take the quickest route between points. They are also required to know every key landmark, such as hospitals, theatres, stations etc.
Like many cities around the world you simply raise your arm and shout taxi if you wish to hail a cab, but this can only be achieved if the yellow taxi light is on as this shows you that the driver is looking for a fare. I have taken taxis around London on many occasions when I'm in a hurry or running late for an event and cannot complain about the service I have received. The taxis are always very clean because the drivers are tremendously proud of their taxis.
The only problem with the taxis is that they can be quite expensive and even charge when you are at a standstill which can happen quite a lot in central London; especially around rush hour.
Rarely get to London myself but when I do I always take taxis, can't bear the tube!
HotBabes 18.03.2008 18:36
I wouldn't fancy taking that test! x
sghawken 18.03.2008 08:12
You cant be that confident, London has an estimated 3000 illegal taxis operating. I once got into an illegal taxi, its hard to tell thedifference till you get inside. And in the case of a hackney cab, if you refuse to pay the extortionate fees you cant get out