Minicab versus black cab – which offers greater earning potential?

By | February 27, 2013


As a prospective cab driver, choosing which route to go down can be a bit of a conundrum. Both private and public hire have their benefits and their drawbacks. It’s a good idea to work these out before committing to see which would work best for you.

Average fare earnings

The general consensus is that a public hire black cab is going to offer better per-fare-rates than a private hire minicab. Public hire cabs are charged by the meter, and when working in a city, this can be beneficial for a driver, if not the passenger.

Minicabs will usually charge less than a black cab for the same journey. While this won’t work out as well per-fare, it’s likely that you’ll find more customers. Prospective fares much prefer to have a heads up on how much a journey will cost them, and also quite like the idea of being able to find the best deal. As a private hire taxi, you can agree on a price which is fair to all involved.

Perceived dangers

If you have a good booking number to work from, then working as a private hire driver will be fine. However, with the bad press and current ad campaign warning people to avoid unbooked cabs, this may well harm your chances of happening across a fare. This is not so much the case with a black cab.

Black cab drivers are licensed by the Public Carriage Office in London, or by the local authority elsewhere, and have been licensed this way since the times of the horse-drawn cart. This inevitably installs a little more trust in a fare. The checks required before being issued one of these licenses is seen to be more rigorous than with private hire. They also have to go through an additional test known as ‘The Knowledge’, which ensures they have specialist knowledge of the area(s) they operate in.

Of course, despite taking ‘The Knowledge’, you can find a lot of black cab drivers become lost and the extra time spent finding your destination just adds to the fare. This is why some people see private hire as a safer bet as far as costs go and usually have a couple of good numbers on them for trusted private hire firms.

Getting ready

First off you are going to need a car. To buy a used black taxi, you are looking around the £30,000 mark. When it comes to private hire cars, you can use any vehicle, so long as it passes the relevant tests and is fully road worthy.

Next you will need taxi insurance. Insurance companies offer both public and private hire-insurance for drivers and it’s a good idea to shop around. Insurance is a legal obligation for all drivers, but also provides a good financial safeguard should things go wrong.


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