How Many Licensed Taxis Are There in London

London has a large fleet of black cabs, which are iconic symbols of the city. The number of taxis operating in London is not fixed, as it can fluctuate based on factors such as demand, traffic conditions, and the availability of drivers. However, estimates suggest that there are approximately 25,000 licensed black cabs in London, making it one of the largest taxi fleets in the world. These taxis are regulated by Transport for London (TfL), which ensures that they meet safety and quality standards.

Licensed Taxis in London

London’s iconic black cabs are a symbol of the city, but how many are there? As of 2023, there are approximately 21,500 licensed taxis operating in the capital.

The Black Cab: Symbol of London

Black cabs have been a part of London’s streetscape for over a century and are instantly recognizable by their distinctive black paintwork and yellow “taxi” sign on the roof. They are also known for their spacious interiors and ability to navigate the city’s narrow streets.

To become a London taxi driver, individuals must pass “The Knowledge,” a rigorous test that requires them to memorize 25,000 streets and landmarks within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. This ensures that black cab drivers have an extensive knowledge of the city and can provide a safe and efficient service.

Number of Licensed Taxis

The number of licensed taxis in London has remained relatively stable in recent years, despite the rise of ride-hailing services such as Uber. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the industry, with many taxis taken off the roads during lockdowns.

The following table shows the number of licensed taxis in London from 2018 to 2023:

YearNumber of Licensed Taxis






As the table shows, the number of licensed taxis has gradually increased since 2021, as the city recovers from the pandemic.

In conclusion, London’s licensed taxis remain an essential part of the city’s transport network. With their iconic black cabs and knowledgeable drivers, they provide a reliable and distinctive service to residents and visitors alike.

Licensing and Regulation of Taxis

Taxis in London are subject to strict regulations and licensing requirements. These are enforced by the Public Carriage Office (PCO) within Transport for London (TfL), which is responsible for the management of all taxis and private hire vehicles in the city.

In order to be licensed as a London taxi, a vehicle must meet specific criteria and pass a rigorous inspection process. This includes:

  • The vehicle must be a specifically approved make and model, designed for use as a taxi.
  • It must be equipped with a meter, a roof sign, and a range of other safety and accessibility features.
  • The driver must have a valid London taxi driver’s license and pass a background check.

Once licensed, taxis are subject to regular inspections to ensure that they continue to meet the required standards. Drivers are also required to undergo periodic training and development to maintain their knowledge and skills.

The regulation of taxis in London helps to ensure that passengers can travel safely and with confidence. It also helps to maintain the high standards of service that London taxis are renowned for.

By contrast with black cabs, private hire vehicles (PHVs), such as Uber, are not subject to the same strict regulations and licensing requirements. This has led to concerns about safety and the level of service offered by PHVs.

In recent years, TfL has introduced a number of measures to address these concerns, including stricter licensing requirements for PHVs and a requirement for all PHV drivers to undergo a criminal background check.

However, some critics argue that these measures do not go far enough and that PHVs should be subject to the same regulations and licensing requirements as black cabs.

Number of Licensed Taxis in London
YearNumber of Taxis

Taxi Demand and Supply

The number of licensed taxis in London is closely regulated by Transport for London (TfL) to ensure there is a balance between supply and demand. The demand for taxis is influenced by factors such as population density, tourism, and public transport availability, while the supply is determined by the number of licensed taxis and drivers.

Taxi Demand

  • London has a high population density, with over 9 million people living within the Greater London area.
  • London is a major tourist destination, attracting over 30 million visitors each year.
  • Public transport in London is extensive, but there may be times when it is not convenient or accessible.

Taxi Supply

  • As of 2023, there are approximately 25,000 licensed taxis in London.
  • Taxi drivers must pass a rigorous knowledge test (the “Knowledge”) and have a good driving record.
  • Taxis are subject to regular inspections and maintenance checks to ensure they meet safety standards.
Licensed Taxis in London
YearNumber of Licensed Taxis

To manage demand and supply, TfL uses a system of taxi ranks and electronic hailing. Taxi ranks are designated areas where taxis are allowed to queue and wait for passengers. Electronic hailing allows passengers to book taxis using mobile apps or websites.

The Role of Taxis in London’s Transportation System

Taxis play a vital role in London’s transportation network, providing a convenient and accessible service for residents and visitors alike. They are particularly useful for short journeys, late-night travel, and trips to and from airports.

Number of Licensed Taxis

As of 2023, there are approximately 21,000 licensed taxis operating in London. This includes both traditional black cabs and private hire vehicles (PHVs).

  • Black Cabs: Around 15,000 black cabs are licensed to operate in London.
  • PHVs: Approximately 6,000 PHVs are licensed to operate in London.

Availability and Accessibility

Taxis are readily available in most parts of London, particularly in central areas. They can be hailed on the street, booked in advance by phone or app, or picked up at designated taxi ranks.

Black cabs are wheelchair-accessible and can accommodate up to 5 passengers. PHVs typically accommodate 4 passengers and may or may not be wheelchair-accessible.

Fares and Regulations

Taxi fares in London are regulated by the Transport for London (TfL). The fare is based on the distance traveled, time spent, and any additional charges (e.g., for extra passengers or luggage).

Black cabs have higher fares than PHVs, but they are also subject to stricter regulations regarding driver training, vehicle standards, and operating hours.

Table: Comparison of Black Cabs and PHVs

FeatureBlack CabsPHVs
Number of licensed vehicles15,0006,000
Vehicle typeTaxi-specific designVaries (e.g., saloons, estates)
Wheelchair accessibilityYesMay vary
Passenger capacityUp to 5Up to 4
RegulationsStricterLess strict

Cheers, mates! I hope you enjoyed this little adventure into the world of London’s black cabs. Remember, if you’re ever in need of a ride around the city, there’s always a taxi ready to roll. Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to come back later for more London-related fun and facts. Until next time!