yellow Taxi light sign
By prettypracticals August 23, 2023

Navigating urban landscapes often involves choosing between different modes of transportation, with minicabs and taxis being two popular options. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they do, in fact, represent distinct categories of transport services.

In this article, we dive into the differences between minicabs and taxis, shedding light on their characteristics, regulations, and the factors that set them apart.

Understanding Minicabs

Minicabs, short for “miniature cabs,” are a type of private hire vehicle service that operates by pre-booking through a licensed minicab company.

These vehicles are not allowed to pick up passengers without a prior reservation, ensuring a more controlled and regulated system. Minicabs offer a convenient way to arrange transportation, especially for those who prefer planned trips.

The Characteristics of Minicabs

Minicabs operate under specific regulations and provide a convenient alternative to traditional taxis. Here are the key characteristics of minicabs:

Pre-Booking Requirement

The most significant distinction of minicabs is that they must be booked in advance through a licensed minicab company. Passengers cannot hail them from the street and have to use applications like ZedCarz to order them.

Fixed Fare

Minicabs typically operate on a fixed fare basis, agreed upon during the booking process. This means that the fare is determined before the journey begins, providing transparency and predictability for passengers.

Private Hire Licence

Minicabs are driven by licensed private hire drivers who have undergone background checks and training mandated by local regulations.

Understanding Taxis

Taxis, on the other hand, are often referred to as “black cabs” or “hackney carriages.” These vehicles can be hailed from the street or picked up at designated taxi ranks. 

Taxis provide immediate transport services without the need for prior booking, making them a popular choice for spontaneous travel.

The Characteristics of Taxis

Taxis can be hailed from the street or picked up at designated taxi ranks, providing on-the-spot transport services. Here are the key characteristics of taxis:

Street Hailing

Unlike other modes of transportation that require advance booking, street-hailing taxis allow passengers to access a ride without any prearrangement. 

This feature is particularly useful for those who prefer a flexible travel schedule. Taxis can be hailed directly from the street by signalling an available taxi with an illuminated “taxi” sign.

Metered Fare

Taxis operate on a metered fare system, where the fare is calculated based on factors such as distance and time spent in the vehicle. This system adjusts the fare according to the journey’s specifics.

Public Hire Licence

Taxis are operated by licensed taxi drivers who undergo rigorous training and testing to ensure their knowledge of local routes and regulations.

Key Differences Between Mini Cabs and Taxis

  • Booking Requirement: The primary distinction between minicabs and taxis lies in the booking requirement. Minicabs must be booked in advance, while taxis can be hailed from the street.
  • Fare Structure: Minicabs operate on a fixed fare basis agreed upon during booking, providing transparency. Taxis use metered fares that adjust based on the distance and time of the journey.
  • Immediate Availability: Taxis offer immediate availability and are designed for spontaneous travel. Minicabs are suitable for planned trips.
  • Street Hailing: Taxis can be hailed directly from the street, making them a common choice for passengers seeking quick transportation.
  • Licensed Drivers: Both minicab and taxi drivers are licensed, but taxi drivers undergo extensive training and testing specific to their city or region.

Regulations and Licensing

Both minicabs and taxis are subject to regulations and licensing by local transportation authorities. These regulations ensure the safety and quality of service for passengers, including driver background checks, vehicle maintenance, and adherence to legal requirements.

Wrapping It Up

While minicabs and taxis serve the common purpose of providing transportation, they differ significantly in terms of booking methods, fare structures, and availability.

Whether you opt for the convenience of booking in advance with a minicab or the spontaneity of hailing a taxi from the street, both options offer unique advantages that cater to different travel preferences. Understanding these distinctions allows you to make an informed choice that aligns with your needs and travel style.