Getting about London
Whether you are staying in a Piccadilly hotel, a Kensington accommodation, a Mayfair apartment or Oxford Street Hotels, there I always going to be a black cab available for you to jump into and get about the city. Some people like to use the underground, the buses and even walking, but if you want to make phone calls, arrange meetings and catch up on emails a black cab is the best option. They offer their punters the best and fastest route, as well as personal space whilst travelling through London, having space in the city is a luxury. Everyone looking to use a back cab should understand that during peak times there can be delays on the roads, which can increase in fares. Remember safety comes first, and in a city like London you are going to get cabbie curb crawlers who will offer you a lift for a set amount of money, not all of these drivers are registered. Be safe and if you are going to use a cab then a black cab is going to be the safest option, especially if you have consumed alcohol.
Black cab history& facts
Becoming a cab driver in London is not as straight forward as one might like to presume, the drivers have to know the roads, the fastest routes and also have to keep their cabs well maintained. Who better to get strangers to the city form one place to another. Back in 1654 the ‘cabbies’ where horse men, who had black carts attached to their horses to transfer people from one place to another in exchange for money, this soon caught on and more horse men where to offer the same service, during the winter it was cold and blistering, this was when the need for the ‘Green Shelters’ where brought to attention. They were not allowed to be any larger than the horse and cart and still remain in place today. Once cars were introduced to the roads things changed and routes became faster, then laws put in place for the safety of the public. When the cabbie craze took over, registrations and licences became imperative, as did the testing procedure. The NFL brought in the testing to be difficult to make the London Cabbies the best, and to today they remain on the pedestal they were placed on.
First cab ride is free to your destination
Cabs have to be clean & well maintained
Drivers have to know the streets and routes
Drivers will spend 3-4 years in covering 20,000 miles of roads
Cabbies know points of interest throughout London
Exams have to be taken and can be re taken as many times as required for a pass
Cabbies use knowledge not technology
Most will offer free journeys to men and women in the Armed Forces.
Black cab Shelter locations
Throughout London there are many ‘cab shelters’ that are dotted about. Originally the shelters were designed and erected for the comfort and warmth of the ‘Horse and Carriage’ drivers in the bad weather. The green shed type pavilions are still used today for cabbies to advertise, have a refreshment and for them to be able to rest throughout their working days, as well as catch up on any city information and traffic problems and road closures. There are still 13 shelters throughout the city and they are located;
•Chelsea Embankment SW3 – Close to Albert Bridge
•Embankment Palace WC2 –Near Embankment tube station
•Grosvenor Gardens SW1 – On the West side of North Gardens
•Hanover Square London W1 – North side of the Central Gardens
•Kensington Park Road W11 – Outside numbers 8-10
•Kensington Road W8 – Near Queen’s Gate SW7
•Pont Street SW1 – Close to Sloane Street junction
•Russell Square WC1 – West Corner (relocated from Leicester Square)
•St. George’s Square, Pimlico SW1 –On the North Side
•Temple Place WC2
•Thurloe Place, Kensington SW7 – Opposite the V & A Museum
•Warwick Avenue, London W9 – Located by Warwick Avenue Tube Station
•Wellington Place, St John’s Wood NW8 – Close to Lord’s Cricket Ground
The London Black cab is world famous, it is known and recognised all around the globe, many tourist love to use a black cab when traveling around the city. They might not be the most affordable form of transport around the city, but they are however an experience. Some local Londoners might argue that the cabs need to be revaluated and taken off the roads as they clog up the circles at rush hour, some will also be negative about the amount of non-English drivers on the roads, whether the drivers are born in England or not, the NFL will not hand out licences to anyone, the testing process takes years and it is extremely tight, you either pass or fail, if you fail keep going until you pass or give up.
Information on the word famous back cabs is available from many sources, here are some links that might be useful, and the links listed have assisted in some of the research in this article.