If you are flying into Heathrow for the first time and you will need transportation from the airport to your destination, it is helpful to know a little bit about how the UK taxi system works.
Licensed Taxis & Minicabs
In London, there are two different types of transportation you can hire to get you from the airport to your destination. You can hire licensed taxis or you can hire minicabs, also known as Private Hire Cars (PVCs).
Taxis are licensed through the local governing body. Anyone can hail and use a taxi.
Minicabs, on the other hand, can only be hired by calling a number and booking the vehicle to pick you up. Minicabs are more like a private car service in the United States, whereas licensed taxis are more like a regular taxi service in the United States.
What to Look for on the Cab
When you get into a licensed taxi or cab, there are a few things you need to look for. To start with, all taxis must have a license plate number. Don't get in a vehicle that is driving around without a license plate.
Once you get into the vehicle, the driver should have clearly displayed their badge, which lets you see the driver's license number. If you get into a vehicle where the driver doesn't have a clearly displayed badge and license number, you are more than likely in an unlicensed taxi.
Extra Charges That Apply
With a taxi can in the United Kingdom, you will be charged a base charge of usually a couple of pounds for the first so many meters. After that, there will be a set charge per unit of travel. The charge should be clearly displayed so you know what you are being charged.
If you are traveling between eight in the evening and midnight, you can be charged a surcharge. If you have extra passengers or if you have luggage, there may be a fee for those items as well. Not all taxi companies charge for extra passengers and luggage, but some do.
When you fly into Heathrow, you can hail a taxi or hire a PVC to take you to your destination. Any vehicle you hire should clearly display their rates, and the driver should have a picture with a license number you can see.
For more information on Heathrow Airport transportation, contact a resource like Hire Airport Taxi.