Getting a taxi

Booking a vehicle

To make a booking you telephone the contractor on the number you have been given. Alternatively, if you have access to the internet you can make bookings online using the Computer Cab website. You may find it is quicker to book online during busy times. You can also track the progress of your vehicle.

What information do I have to give when booking?

  • your name and Taxicard number
  • the address from where you want the vehicle to pick you up. Try to give precise details such as a particular exit from a supermarket or theatre
  • the exact destination address
  • whether you are a wheelchair user and the type of wheelchair you use
  • whether you will need help getting into and out of the vehicle
  • offer a contact phone number if possible. If there is a problem in supplying your vehicle on time an operator will contact you.

Note: The operator should confirm back to you the details of your booking to ensure it has been recorded accurately.

Avoid the peak

The phone lines are very busy in the mornings between 10:00am and 12:00pm. Unless you want to travel straight away it is better to avoid these times when phoning. You are likely to get through to the call centre more quickly at other times. You can book in advance if you know the exact time that you wish to be picked up. Alternatively, use the online booking system.

Travelling companions

You may be accompanied by up to four companions if you are travelling in a licensed taxi and up to three in a Private Hire Vehicle at no additional cost. If you have a large wheelchair only three (and sometimes only two) companions may be able to travel with you, depending on the type of wheelchair. When travelling with multiple companions, you should make the number of passengers clear when making your booking so that an appropriate vehicle can be sent.

Types of bookings

There are two types of bookings you can make when using your Taxicard; As Soon As Possible (ASAP) and Advanced (AB) bookings.

As Soon as Possible (ASAP) bookings are defined as a booking made with less than 20 minutes’ notice, or when a user specifically requests a vehicle to arrive as soon as possible.

The booking line is not able to confirm in advance which vehicle will be allocated to this booking, due to the short time frame. CityFleet’s bookings system searches the nearby area approximately 20 minutes before the required time of arrival.

ASAP bookings are almost exclusively undertaken by black taxis. In line with the service level agreement (SLA) CityFleet are required to arrive within 30 minutes of the time the booking is made for 95% of bookings and if there is a delay in allocating a vehicle CityFleet must call the passenger 30 minutes after the required time.

If you wish to book a taxi for immediate travel, where possible you should try to book a minimum of 30 minutes before the time you would like to travel to allow sufficient time for CityFleet to allocate a vehicle and for the vehicle to arrive

 
   

Advanced bookings (AB) journeys are defined as a booking made 30 minutes or more prior to the required time of arrival.

You can also make a Taxicard booking up to three months in advance.

When you make an advanced booking, the booking is not automatically allocated to a driver. Instead your booking is recorded and CityFleet will offer it to one of their private hire (minicab) companies (if you are able to travel in a minicab) or they will usually offer the booking to available Taxi (Black Cab) drivers around 20 minutes before the time required.  This is to ensure the closest Taxi to your location is sent in order to reduce your waiting time and the distance the driver has to travel to get to you.

However, Taxi drivers can accept bookings in advance of the usual despatch schedule and around 30% of bookings are accepted this way.  It is though more common for minicabs to do this as they schedule the work that they do among their drivers based on the shifts they work and they operate within a smaller area compared to black taxis who can be at any location within the M25 at any given time and are also legally obliged to accept street hails from non Taxicard users.

Therefore, we recommend users to book in advance where possible, as this gives CityFleet an opportunity to offer bookings in advance to a minicab or Taxi.

Booking in advance is useful if you know the date and time you wish to travel in advance and if you make regular journeys to the same destination, as you can book more than one journey at a time.  You can also ask for a regular booking to be set up which can run until no longer needed or you can amend or cancel specific bookings when needed. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Taxicard is not a guaranteed service, as sometimes demand for vehicles can be greater than supply.

The time taken to fulfil your booking depends on the availability of vehicles in your area at that time; traffic and weather conditions and the location of vehicles means that vehicles may be delayed. It is for this reason that the terms and conditions of service state that taxis are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.  This is why the contractual service level agreement is that 95% of advance bookings should arrive within 15 minutes of the required time and not at the required time.

CityFleet will keep customers informed at all times on the status of their booking. If you book in advance and there is a delay in allocating a vehicle you will receive an automated call at the required time and then 10 minutes later to the telephone number that you provided as a contact number on the booking. If a further 10 minutes later CityFleet still have not allocated a vehicle to your booking you will then receive a call from an agent where you can advise if you want CityFleet to keep trying to allocate or cancel the booking for you.  It is important to let CityFleet know if you wish to cancel as you will lose a trip if a vehicle arrives and you have not asked for the booking to be cancelled before a vehicle is allocated.  If you booked via the CityFleet Taxicard app or the CityFleet Taxicard web booker you can log on at any time to see the progress of your booking.

When making a booking in advance please ensure that you keep a record of the bookings you have made.

Please remember that if you choose to book by telephone, particularly if you are booking in advance, you may be answered more quickly if you avoid calling during the peak hours of 9am - 12pm.

You are advised to book further in advance for bookings that are important, for example:

  • connecting with on-going transport - e.g at train or coach stations
  • outings to shows or other events
  • events where tickets have been bought in advance.
  • other important appointments.
  • if weather conditions are poor - for instance heavy rain or snow

However, you should be aware that taxis are not suitable for journeys where it is vital that you arrive at your destination at an exact time.

If you require a return journey you may book it when you book the outward journey. Please inform the contractor if you cannot be contacted while you are at the location from which you will make your return journey.

If you are booking in advance you may wish to avoid requesting a taxi either on the hour or half hour if it is not essential. Most people book for these times and you may find more taxis are available if you book at quarter to or quarter past the hour instead.

If you make repeat journeys on a daily, weekly or monthly basis these can be booked in advance to save phoning on each occasion.

Types of vehicles

Taxis (Licensed Black Taxis)

Taxis undertake on average 85% of Taxicard journeys as they make up the majority of the fleet.

Taxis are wheelchair accessible and can only carry wheelchairs that can be safely secured using the integrated seatbelt. Taxis must carry assistance dogs free of charge, they have an induction hearing loop and high-visibility grab handles.

Taxi fares are regulated and set by Transport for London and are calculated by meter. Further information can be found here https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/taxis-and-minicabs/taxi-fares?intcmp=4223

Private Hire Vehicles (Mini-cabs)

You may be sent a private hire vehicle (PHV) supplied by a Transport for London (TfL) licensed private hire operator who meet necessary terms and conditions as these are used to supplement and improve supply. You will be informed in advance if a PHV is being sent in response to your booking.

Availability of vehicles

Every effort will be made to supply you with a vehicle but at certain times it may be difficult to find one and it may arrive late. In some circumstances none may be available. This is because the number of available vehicles varies continuously throughout the day as vehicles travel around London and its wider boroughs and demand can sometimes be greater than supply.

For example this can occur:

  • during rush hours
  • when weather conditions are poor - traffic moves more slowly and there are more people hailing taxis in the street
  • during special events such as major state or sporting occasions - when taxi movements are restricted, demand for a taxi increases or drivers choose not to work
  • Christmas, New Year and other holidays - when less drivers choose to work.

It is for these reasons Taxicard is not a guaranteed service and may not be suitable for all types of journeys you wish to make.

CityFleet will keep customers informed at all times on the status of their booking. If there is a delay in allocating a vehicle you will receive an automated call at the required time and then 10 minutes later to the telephone number that you provided as a contact number on the booking. If a further 10 minutes later CityFleet still have not allocated a vehicle to your booking you will then receive a call from an agent where you can advise if you want CityFleet to keep trying to allocate or cancel the booking for you.  It is important to let CityFleet know if you wish to cancel as you will lose a trip if a vehicle arrives and you have not asked for the booking to be cancelled before a vehicle is allocated.  If you booked via the CityFleet Taxicard app or the CityFleet Taxicard web booker you can log on at any time to see the progress of your booking.

If you are not travelling from your home address it is important that you tell the operator how you can be contacted. At such times, you must ensure you are in a suitable area to receive calls, you may need to check the signal on your mobile phone. If you are somewhere such as a hospital where mobile phone signal is weak it may be best to provide the contact number for the reception or ward.

Wheelchair and mobility scooter users and assistance

All licensed taxis are wheelchair accessible, and the drivers are obliged to take wheelchair users unless the driver has a medical exemption. Assistance will be limited to getting into and out of the taxi. Taxi drivers are not able to offer the type of specialist assistance given by drivers of some dedicated transport for people with disabilities.  If specialist help is required, you should travel with a companion who can provide it.

To ensure your safety, if you need to use a wheelchair when travelling in a licensed London taxi you must travel facing the rear of the taxi with your back to the partition and use the integrated belts provided. Many larger electric wheelchairs cannot be positioned and safely secured in this way, due to their size, and so are unsuitable for use when travelling on the Taxicard scheme.  

Many mobility scooters cannot be safely secured or are too heavy to use the ramps in licensed London taxis and therefore cannot be used when travelling on the Taxicard scheme.  

However, the customer can travel if the electric wheelchair can be safely secured and the scooter is not too heavy and the customer can transfer from it to the back seat of the taxi in order to travel. You cannot remain seated on a scooter when travelling.

If you use a wheelchair or scooter, we need some additional information from you so that we can establish the best way that we can provide the Taxicard service for you. Our ability to provide a suitable vehicle for you will be limited if you do not have access to a wheelchair of a type which can be safely secured in a London taxi and you are not able to transfer to a seat when travelling.

How to load a wheelchair / scooter into a licensed taxi

Using a step or swivel seat in a licensed taxi 

 

Taxi Ranks

You can pick up Computer Cab taxis from ranks providing you have your Taxicard with you and the taxi has their logo on it. Drivers should accept your Taxicard as long as they are for hire.

Street hailing

You can hail a Computer Cab taxis in the street provided that the yellow for hire light is on, you have your Taxicard with you and the taxi has the Taxicard logo:

taxicard roundel small

You need to have registered your name and address by phone with Computer Cab.