Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Everything You Need to Know about Taxis in Edinburgh

Getting around Edinburgh is easy, thanks to the wide availability of taxis in the city. Whether you need a late-night ride home from Peartree House or are planning an outing to the Museum on the Mound, local taxi drivers can help you connect to your destination. In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about taxis in Edinburgh.

Types of Taxis Available in Edinburgh

As with London, Edinburgh has its own fleet of black cabs. These are spacious vehicles that can comfortably seat up to five passengers. And some of the newer black cabs in Edinburgh can even seat six.

These taxis can be hailed from alongside the street or boarded at any of several taxi ranks around Edinburgh. You’ll find some of the most prominent ranks near North Bridge as well as Haymarket and Waverly stations. There are also ranks at Lauriston Place, Hanover Street, North Street and Andrew Street, to name a few other locations. 

Furthermore, there’s a wide range of private taxi companies in Edinburgh. These consist primarily of minicabs, though you’ll also find firms with MPVs and people carriers available. These are particularly handy because you can call them in advance and forego the need to hail a taxi from the kerb. If you would like to take advantage of the local private taxi service, you’ll need to do some research to locate the appropriate contact information. 

Edinburgh Taxi Fare System

All of the vehicles used in the fleet of Edinburgh taxis are registered and metered. The fares are relatively straightforward. The base fare is £2.10, which covers the first 450 metres of travel. After that, the taxi meter will add an additional 25p for 188 metres of ground covered.

Along those lines, a 2km taxi ride across Edinburgh would work out as follows:
£2.10 for the first 450 metres
£2.06 for the remaining 1,550 metres
Total of £4.16
There are, of course, situations in which the fare will increase. For example, the base fare rises to £3.10 late at night. These fares are in effect for travel within Edinburgh. For service to destinations outside of the city, fixed-rate prices are quoted.

It’s also possible to call ahead of time for taxi service. Metred taxis will add 80p to the base fare in this case. There are also several private taxi companies in Edinburgh that can provide service when required. As always, the trick is knowing who to call when you need assistance.

The meter in your taxi should be prominently displayed. Likewise, a break-down of the fees (including fixed-rate fares for longer journeys) should be posted in the front of the vehicle along with the driver’s ID.

Basic Taxi Etiquette in Edinburgh

Hailing a taxi in Edinburgh is as easy waving or holding your arm up to flag one down. For the taxis on the street, there’s an orange light that is turned on when the vehicle is available. Of course, finding an available taxi can be difficult during peak hours, when there could be more people looking for a cab than there are vehicles to accommodate them.

With that in mind, it’s often easier to simply call and secure your driver ahead of time. In most cases, getting a cab sent directly to where you are is a fast and painless process. All it takes is a quick phone call, and your drive will be on the way.

Cab drivers reserve the right to refuse service under very specific circumstances. For example, some drivers will not allow food or drink in the cab. In other cases, the Marshall stationed at a taxi rank may refuse service to an overly intoxicated person. It should also be noted that, in the event that the passenger becomes ill and makes a mess in the cab, a cleaning fee will be charged.

Private taxis, on the other hand, cannot be hailed on the street. If you would like to arrange a minicab, simply call you preferred service provider, and they will arrange to meet you at your current location. Local taxis operate on a fixed-fare basis, and they’ll quote you a price when you place the call.

Tipping is optional but appreciated. Generally speaking, locals don’t tip for short-haul journeys across the city centre, though they’re likely to round up 50p for longer trips. Tipping is in no way mandatory, but it’s a good way to endear yourself to a driver whose services you would like to avail yourself of again at a later date.

Staying Safe with Taxis in Edinburgh

On the whole, taxis in Edinburgh are very safe. However, news occasionally surfaces of unscrupulous drivers taking advantage of passengers. There are a few steps that passengers can take to ensure that they only deal with above-board taxi drivers in Edinburgh:
  • Only board a vehicle that displays the proper registration and identification; once you’ve boarded, make a note of this information.
  • Insist on only riding in taxis driven by properly licensed drivers
  • When dealing with private taxis and minicabs, only call upon those firms that are listed in a reliable directory such as Thomsonlocal.
  • Avoid walking alone to hail a taxi from the kerb – especially at night.
  • If you know that you will need a taxi ahead of time, do a bit of online research to find a firm that clearly advertises its credentials, contact information and services.
  • When a minicab arrives to pick you up, ask them for the name of the passenger they’re picking up (rather than saying, for example, “Are you here to pick up Ms Jones?”).
  • Don’t hesitate to check the ID of the driver picking you up; they’re professionally (and legally) obligated to display this information and should have no problem presenting it when asked.
On the whole, the transport system in Edinburgh is safe, efficient and affordable. Just remember that it’s best to note down the contact info of a reliable firm so that you have access to it when you need it.

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