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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

Taxis

Taxicard bookings are treated in the same way as any other taxi booking. If you ask for a taxi to be provided as soon as possible they will begin their search straight away.

For advanced bookings, even if you have booked a taxi well in advance of your journey, they will not look for a taxi until approximately 20 minutes before the time you want to travel. Taxis are not allocated in advance. 

Note: If they find you a taxi immediately and it is nearby it may arrive early. Please be ready for this because if the taxi has to wait or you send it away it will cost you more. Sending the taxi away will also cause further delay as a new taxi will have to be found for you and you will have to use another trip from your allocation.

Consider the following when booking your taxi:

If you wish to book a taxi for immediate travel, you should try to book a minimum of 30 minutes before the time you would like to travel.

You are advidsed 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.

Private Hire Vehicles (Mini-cabs)

You may be sent a private hire vehicle (PHV) in response to your booking 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 and demand can sometimes be greater then 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 or drivers choose not to work
  • Christmas, New Year and other holidays - when less drivers choose to work.

When no vehicle is available - what this means

It is important to always tell the operator how you can be contacted if you are not at home. The contractor may not be able to inform you that they cannot provide a vehicle until shortly before the requested arrival time. The operator will try to contact you and ask whether you want them to keep trying to locate a vehicle or whether you wish to cancel and make other arrangements.

N.B. Taxicard is not a guaranteed service.

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 attachment 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.

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.

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.