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Choose the right Glasgow Taxi

Your choice of Glasgow Taxi
could save you time & money

The Lowdown | Hackney Cabs | Private Hires | Airport Transfers

Colourful Glasgow Taxi

A fair fare? (see what I did there?!!)

Grabbing a Glasgow taxi these days is a piece of cake for those in the know. If you're anything like me in a foreign city though, you'll waste precious time scratching your head at the choice of cab, the thoughts of personal safety, to tip or not to tip, and how much to tip and so on...

...So here's some useful information for your travels around Glasgow by cab.

As in any other City, you'll be bound to see a huge number of cabs milling about here. A Glasgow taxi can come in black; be wrapped in wacky adverts for restaurants, hotels, strip clubs or whatever else you can think of; or can look like any other set of wheels on the street with a simple oh by the way I'm a taxi kind of sign on the side.

The one thing you have to tatoo squarely on your mind however, is that for personal safety reasons, every Glasgow taxi should be properly licensed. So it goes without saying that you shouldn't get in one unless you see a metal plate on the outside of the cab showing the taxi licence details issued by the local authority (eg. Glasgow City Council, Renfrewshire Council etc.). And when you get in, you should know that every Glasgow taxi driver should have displayed in the cab his or her photo and licence details. That way you'll know for certain that you'll be in a safe vehicle driven by safe hands.

How much to tip in a Glasgow taxi?

It might sound traditionally Scottish, but my thought is that how much you should tip a Glasgow taxi driver will depend on the level of service that you're given. If the driver gets me to where I'm headed with minimum fuss and time, then I'll tip more than I would if I'd been taken a longer route than necessary, or if the driver hasn't a scooby where he or she's going (as all taxi drivers should before they deserve a licence), or to be perfectly honest, if the driver has made every effort to annoy me with sectarian or otherwise offensive chat every mile of my painful journey.

Normally, the usual tip will be to round the fare up to the nearest pound and add however many pounds you think the driver deserves. So for example, if it's been a good journey and the fare is £7.10, I'll normally hand over a £10 note and say 'just take nine thanks' (or 'ten', if I'm feeling generous or otherwise drunk). If it's been average, I'll hand over the tenner and say 'just take eight thanks'. However, If the journey has sucked and made me late for my first pint, I'll either give the driver the exact change or hand over a tenner and say nothing until I get the exact change back.

Yeah OK, so that might sound a bit heartless given that taxi drivers are only out to make a living, but hey, why award a poor service? If they're late, if they take you a longer route than necessary, if they're in any way offensive, reflect the service in the tip.

Don't get me wrong however. You should find that for the most part, the level of service you'll be afforded in the typical Glasgow taxi will be good, and I'm not just saying that to avoid being driven down a dark alleyway the next time I jump a cab! Whilst I have had to wait in lengthy taxi queues in my time, or been taken the wrong way by drivers who should have known better, I'd still have to say that getting a Glasgow taxi is no worse than in any other large city I've been to.

So you should find that you'll be rounding up your tip rather than counting out every last penny!

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Are we in London?!!

Happy Glasgow Taxi Driver

The most common type of Glasgow taxi you'll see in your travels will be the Glasgow Hackney cab.

Whilst you'd normally associate the Hackney cab with London, we've got over 1,500 of them licensed to Glasgow City Council. They're either black or wrapped in advertising, have their fare and meter prominently displayed inside, can carry up to five passengers, and are all equipped with seatbelts, air-con and even digital TVs in some of them. You may even see the names of the driver's children adorned on the back of the cab, a trend that started here some years ago.

You'll be able to flag down these types of Glasgow taxi anywhere you see them, provided that the orange 'taxi' sign on their roofs are lit up. Otherwise, there are taxi stances all over the City where the hackneys will wait for passengers. Generally, you'll come across a taxi rank at the busier parts of town, for example at bus and train stations, outside big attractions, hotels or clubs and so on. Have in mind though that a hackney driver will not stop to pick you up in the street if you're within a short distance from the nearest taxi rank. If that's the case, just head to the stance and get it there. At night on the weekends, you'll tend to find that the taxi ranks are filled with night-lengthening queues, so if you're headed to a restaurant or wherever and need a taxi later on, you'd be better phoning a private taxi (see below) in advance to collect you from where you'll be, as the hackneys may well be too busy to accept bookings at that time of night.

To book a hackney in advance though, either ask your hotel reception to arrange it, or call , simply telling them your name, where you are, where you're going, whether you're disabled, and if appropriate, when you'd like it to collect you.

If you do find yourself in a taxi queue later at night, you'll be pleased to know that Glasgow Taxis Ltd have introduced Nite Zones to ensure your personal safety. They operate at the busiest areas, in other words at Gordon Street outside Central Station, and on Sauchiehall Street outside the Glasgow Garage nightclub. Basically, this means that around these areas you'll see taxi marshals who'll guide you to your taxi, improved lighting, and there's an increased police presence there combined with good CCTV coverage. Please don't get the impression however, that all this is completely necessary in Glasgow's centre - just rest assured that if you get a queue in a Nite Zone, the only worry you'll have is whether you can finish your chips n' cheese or kebab before your Glasgow taxi draws up!

If you'd like a tour of Glasgow, just phone  in advance. It's the best taxi tour you'll get (that's first hand advice there). It's run by Glasgow Taxis, the main hackney operator in the City, will cost £27 for a tour lasting over 1 hour 20 minutes (or £45 for an extended 2 hour tour), and you'll be taken around the main attractions in Glasgow by an experienced driver who'll be sure to provide you with a good commentary and answer your queries well.

Hackney Fare Guide

One thing to bear in mind with a hackney style Glasgow taxi, is that if you're heading out of the City Centre to a place in the outskirts, you'll likely have to pay a boundary charge. The driver should advise you of this when you mention where you're headed.

You'll also note that as with taxis all over the world, when you get into a hackney Glasgow taxi, you'll see that the meter already shows a fare on it. The amount of the starting fare will depend on what time of day or which day you're getting the cab, and will normally be hiked up particularly on weekend nights (much to the annoyance of many a drunken reveller I can tell you!).

Here's a handy fare guide for starters. The 8 mile fare you see on the map is the standard fare, which will start from about £1.50 / £2.00 and go up to about £8.00 before you hit the boundary charges outwith the 8 mile radius. Further, in response to a great deal of emails I've been receiving of late, for the avoidance of doubt you'll be looking at around £16 in a hackney from the City Centre to Glasgow Airport, about £66 to Edinburgh Airport, and about £78 to the City of Edinburgh.

You should note however, that these fares are just examples. The extent of the fare will depend largely on the time of day you're travelling, how bad the traffic is, and what amounts the fare regulators have fixed at any given time.

So to cut a long story short (too late?!!), if you're not sure whether to get the bus, train or a Glasgow taxi, the common sense thought that should run through your head is are we prepared to pay extra to get there quicker?

As I mentioned before, the standard of service you should expect during a journey in a Glasgow taxi is typically good, and this is particularly so from hackney drivers.

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The cheaper option?

Glasgow Taxi Private Hire

A Glasgow taxi can also come in the form of a private hire car. Private hires are run by a growing number of companies around the City, but as I mentioned before, all are regulated and licensed, so don't get in one unless you see the local authority licence on the outside (usually on the bumper at the back of the car).

Given that they're the same as normal cars on the road, the rule of thumb when it comes to trusting the private hire you're about to step into, is that not only should it have the licence on it, but on the side or roof there should also be the phone number of the company you just called to request the cab.

You see, you can't flag down a private hire in the street, and can only get one if you call one of the companies. A good rule that many companies have brought in is that if you phone from a mobile (cell phone), they'll text you the details of the car heading to pick you up, so you can check the registration plate, colour and make of the car before you get in. This stops any dodgy characters pulling over, asking what your name is and saying yeah, that's the one I've to pick up, hop in.

The fares you'll pay will again depend on where you're headed and when you're travelling, but largely (and this of course is only a general observation), you'll find that a private hire Glasgow taxi will be cheaper than a hackney.

Most reputable companies to go for? If you're headed southside in the City, try:

  1. Hampden Cabs on ,
  2. Eastwood Mearns Taxis on .

For a West End private taxi, phone:

  1. Glasgow Private Hire on  or
  2. Great Western Taxis on .

For anywhere else I'm afraid I'm just not sure, so you'd be better getting a recommendation from your hotel or B&B as I wouldn't like to point you in the wrong direction.

All in all therefore, you should be happy with the level of service from private hire Glasgow taxi companies, and even if you're unlucky enough to have a driver who's not long in the job or otherwise who simply doesn't know his or her way around (tut tut!), you'll also tend to notice that probably for that reason a great many private hire drivers have sat-nav in their cars!

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Glasgow Airport Taxis

Glasgow Airport Millennium Taxis

Only designated taxi companies are able to pick up from the inner forecourt of Glasgow Airport. These include Renfrewshire Council licensed taxis, and members of Glasgow Taxis Ltd (in other words black hackney cabs) who are allowed to make pre-arranged pick ups from the inner lane. Private hire taxis can only collect passengers from designated pick-up points in Car Parks 1 and 3 of the airport.

Glasgow Airport Taxi Services is my recommended Glasgow Airport transfer service, and you can call them on . It really is a good service if you're willing to pay a little extra and avoid the bus or train options, although if you phone them in advance you can usually get a discount on the fare.

Maybe it's the old student blood in me though, but I'd suggest that catching the bus right outside the terminal building is just as good an option, and cheaper too! Have a look at my Getting Here section for more information (but only if you're as miserly as myself, that is).

So I hope this little guide to getting your way around the city in a Glasgow taxi will prove helpful to you when you get here. If you need any more info however, just give me a holler (although please note that I'm only a taxi service for Tracey, so unless you're willing to pay me £100 per mile if you're looking for a taxi service Docherty style, I ain't interested - I'll likely be carting the wife round the shops anyway, more's the pity!).

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