Need a Taxi? How to choose the right service for you

Need a Taxi? How to choose the right service for you.

 The dictionary definition of Taxi is “a motor vehicle licensed to transport passengers in return for payment of a fare” We all know what is meant by taxi, Or do we? Are all taxis the same?

If you are looking to book a car to take you from A to B, there are three main options available to you, and this article aims to explain the key differences, and how to choose between them.

 

Ride-Hailing Apps 

The disrupter to the industry, ride hailing apps first arrived in the UK in 2012. Operating typically in city centres but expanding all the time. Apps offer easy booking and convenience, ideal when booking for a single journey. On the downside, like many businesses which operate wholly online, customer service can be seriously lacking.

The important point to note with Ride-Hailing Apps, is that they are essentially booking platforms, connecting passengers to independent owner/drivers. The platform operators have a responsibility to ensure that all those who sign up to provide services are appropriately licensed and adequately insured.

 

Hackney Carriage

The official term for Taxis. Only operators licensed for Hackney Carriage can wait for passengers on UK taxi ranks or be hailed in the street. All vehicles must be liveried (ie. have lit “taxi” signage). Typically operating within a local area, and with vehicles always on the road, they provide a cost effective solution when travelling short distances or at short notice.

Fares are typically charged according to the meter, with rates being determined by the operators local licensing authority. Whilst there is a base rate for travel, higher rates apply when travelling at night, or on Sundays and bank holidays. Watch out too for extra supplements for more than one passenger, and even for travelling with luggage!

Payment is typically by cash to the driver, although with the arrival of Covid-19 many operators do now accept card payments too. Account facilities may be offered for regular travellers, but many operators will add a 10% surcharge for account payments.

 

Private Hire

The Private Hire Operator Licence covers a broad range of service providers, who are not Hackney Carriage. Private Hire vehicles are not authorised to wait in taxi ranks, and all rides must be pre-booked.

Tier 1 - Ride-Hailing Apps are actually licensed as private hire operators.

Tier 2 - Minicabs (often advertised as Taxi or Cabs) The services provided are very similar to those provided by Hackney Carriage, accommodating both short hops and longer journeys. Fares are determined by the operator, and account facilities are generally available.

Tier 3 – Executive Car / Chauffeur

Executive Car & Chauffeur operators provide the same general services as tier 2 operators, but have a greater focus on customer service, providing discretion and comfort for passengers. Fleets are of a higher specification typically being Mercedes, Audi & BMW.

The term ‘chauffeur’ creates an image that services are only provided to high wealth individuals and/or those with celebrity status, with fares to match. The reality is different. Chauffeur operators provide reliability and flexibility particularly important for the business traveller, and for those with non-standard journey requirements. Whilst certainly not the lowest fare option, the price differential is smaller than many anticipate.

 

Summary

So next time you need a car to take you from A to B, consider your priorities.

Is cost the sole determining factor? Do you want to know in advance exactly what you will pay? Is your journey time critical or likely to change? Are you ok with a box on wheels or are you looking for more comfort? Are you booking in advance or do you need a pick up now?

How you answer these questions will determine which type of service will best suit your needs.

 

 

 

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