What is an unbooked minicab?
It's any minicab that hasn't been booked with a licensed minicab company. It means that there is no record of your journey or vehicle and if there is a problem, your driver cannot be traced.
If a bouncer, or somebody with a high vis jacket and clipboard, hails you a minicab on the street, it doesn't mean they have booked it.
If you approach a minicab driver directly, or he approaches you, it doesn't mean your minicab is booked. Drivers who accept a fare this way are acting illegally.
Even if your minicab has a licence sticker, your minicab is illegal and unsafe unless you have booked it with a licensed minicab company.
What is a booked minicab?
- The only way to know your minicab is safe is to book it directly with the minicab company via phone, app, online or in person
- It guarantees that your trip will be carried out by a licensed, insured driver in a licensed, insured vehicle
- It also means that a record is kept of your journey, your driver and the vehicle used, so in the event of any problems the driver can be traced.
Black cabs are different to minicabs:
- They can be approached on the street or at black cab ranks
- They can be flagged by the road
- They do not need to be booked but you can choose to do so using a smartphone app.There are taxi (black cab) apps available in the app stores
Only black cabs can be hailed by customers on the street.
How do I book a minicab?
- Phone your local licensed minicab company
- Go into any licensed minicab office
- Download a taxi or minicab booking app
- Text CAB to 60835
- Some late night venues hold a licence to take your minicab booking (acting like a minicab office) but the booking must be made inside a venue
Essential tips for travelling safely at night
Whether you are sharing a minicab with friends or ridesharing with another passenger, unless you have booked in advance with a licensed minicab company by phone, app or in person at a minicab office, it is not booked and is not safe.
- Plan your journey in advance
- Be aware of your surroundings - listening to music or using your mobile can be distracting and dangerous
- Where possible, keep to brightly lit areas with other people nearby
- If you feel concerned about your safety on a bus, sit close to the driver
- On the Tube or train, move to a carriage where there are other people
- If you feel threatened, use passenger alarms on the Tube or train. Help points are available at Tube, Tram, National Rail and selected bus stations
- Do not get into an unbooked minicab. The driver is acting illegally, it's dangerous and puts you at risk of attack including sexual assault and robbery
Find out what we're doing to protect you from illegal minicabs.
Don't take an unbooked cab
Do not take an unbooked minicab thinking that you will be safe just because:
- The driver is smartly dressed
- You have taken down the number plate as an insurance policy
- You only get a minicab if you are in a group - safety in numbers
- You talk to a friend on your mobile on the way home for reassurance
- You have approached the minicab