After you relocate and settle into London apartments, one of the first things you’re going to want to do is head out for a night on the town. The nightlife in this city is electrifying and many of the clubs are filled with a huge variety of people from all over London, Europe and the world. It is quite easy to meet an assortment of new friends by hitting the vibrant nightclubs.

Although public transportation exists throughout the city, most people prefer to take a taxi back to London apartments after a night of drinking and partying. Taxis are definitely a good option, but there are also some definite things you need to know about them or you could end up being a crime statistic. Women should especially take precautions as around 100 sexual assaults occur each year by illegal taxi drivers.

Black Taxis

The old black taxis are a London tradition and are the official taxis of the city. Although some black taxis are no longer black and are diminishing in numbers (there are roughly 23,000 still operating), they are still quite safe.

The old black taxis are easily identified as they are older models with rounded roofs originally meant to accommodate bowler hats, but they are also fairly small in size should a large group want a ride. Newer streamlined versions exist that are a bit larger and some have open tops for touring London. Regardless if black taxis are old or new, rates are steep.

Yellow Taxis

Yellow taxis are quite numerous and, just like taxis in any city, they can be hailed by waving them down. Available taxis are recognizable by a lit taxi sign located on the roof above the windshield. If the taxi sign doesn’t exist then it is a minicab (see minicab precautions below) or illegal taxi which should be avoided.

Taxi rates are fairly high and evening and weekend rates are even higher. Also keep in mind that it can sometimes be difficult to hail a yellow taxi at nightclubs because they have the right to refuse rides to people returning to London apartments that they expect have had too much to drink.

Minicabs

Minicabs are another option when returning to London apartments. However, there is quite a bit of misunderstanding about them which should be cleared up and paid attention to. Minicabs are unmarked and are only allowed to operate via reservation. They cannot be hailed for a ride from the streets like black or yellow taxis.

You should call to arrange a minicab pickup. When the minicab arrives, the driver should know your name and where you are going to and you can even arrange that they provide a password which you give to the dispatcher. When riding in minicabs, it is recommended by the Public Carriage Office that you sit in the back seat and have a cell phone on you. Minicabs do not contain meters, but instead charge by the mile/km.

There are a large number of illegal “gypsy” minicabs that try to pass off as real taxis. They are unmarked, uninsured and unlicensed and drivers can be very dangerous. Gypsy minicabs will attempt to pick you up on the street like a normal taxi but, again, be aware that it is illegal for minicabs to pick up hails.

Good to Know

If you’re out partying and want a guaranteed safe taxi ride to London apartments, you can call Cabwise. If you don’t have their number on you, you can text the word CAB to this number 60835* and a reputable taxi firm number and two reliable minicab numbers will be sent to your cell phone.

Women out late at night can get a safe and secure ride back to London apartments by calling Lady Mini Cabs which is a woman-run minicab company that provides services exclusively for women. Their number is 020-7272-3300.