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Taxis are a fast, reliable and popular mode of public transport throughout the UK, particularly in larger towns and cities where driving and parking can prove difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

Generally, there are two types of taxis in the UK; hackney carriages (or public hire cabs), such as the black cabs in London and Manchester, and private hire cars, which are usually standard saloon cars with the names of the private hire company on the top or side of the vehicle.

The difference between the two types of taxis is that hackney cabs can be hailed and stopped anywhere and at any time in the street, while private hire taxis must be pre-booked in advance by telephoning or visiting one of the UK’s many mini cab firms.

Before getting into an taxi in the UK remember to check for a taxi licence plate because only cars issued with a licence by the local authority can act as a taxi, either public hire or private hire. In addition, it is against the law for any driver except a Hackney Carriage to tout for business in the street, so never accept a ride from a non-Hackney Carriage taxi tout.

Most taxi drivers in the UK will expect a tip, and 10% of the total fare should be sufficient. In London taxi drivers must take a special Knowledge test to prove they know the area well, but this is not always the case for taxi drivers in other towns and cities. To enable a taxi driver to take you where you want to go make sure you have the address of your destination, so if necessary the driver can check a local map.

These days, taxis come in more variety than the usual black cabs and saloon cars, so in London look out for motorbike taxis, while in Cardiff keep an eye out for taxi bikes with steel chassis (similar to those in Athens and Lisbon), and in York why not take a ride on a licensed horse drawn taxi.