While the rest of the world spends its time getting eagerly conquered by Uber, at the time of writing Oxford remains Uber-free. Mainly not because people don't want it, but because the town is too small and provincial for the company to care much. In July 2015 it applied for a licence to operate here, prompting a rush from local cab companies to do battle. 12 months later the application had expired because Uber had failed to complete all the requirements. "We didn't get around to finishing the application," a spokesperson said. "It is something we are going to do at some stage."
These are the big black ones with rounded corners, like London cabs.
How can I get one?
If it's driving towards you with its orange light on, it's for hire and you may hail it (by waving!). If you can't see one, try a taxi rank - they're located centrally at Carfax, Gloucester Green and the railway station.
What will I pay?
Fares are set by the local authority, and are higher than private hire car fares. Investigate current rates at www.oxford.gov.uk. Expect to pay between three and five times the equivalent single bus fare.
Why choose a Hackney cab?
Hackney Cabs are licensed to individuals and limited in numbers by the city council (the shortage is such that licenses are reputed to change hands for £60,000 - £70,000). Cabs are made specifically for their job, are spacious (holding 5-6 people), have fold-down/up as well as fixed seats, large windows and provide easier access for those with mobility difficulties. If you have lots of big suitcases and need to get to the station, or there are 5 of you going to the same place (private cars only take 4 unless you order a minibus), get a cab.
Help! I've lost something in a taxi!
If you've left something in a taxi, see here for our advice as to retrieving it swiftly!
Private Hire Cars
How can I get one?
Prebook by telephoning their depot. They will tell you how long it will take the vehicle to reach you, often calling/texting you when it's outside (if you definitely want a call, though, mention it when you book, otherwise the driver might just wait a bit and then leave without you). You will need to order the car to a fixed address (your house, or a pub) - locations like 'on the corner at the bottom of South Park' will not be acceptable. Go into the pub/museum/house and call again. Hire cars can't be hailed in the street (at least, not legally).
What will I pay?
A little less than a Hackney cab, but still more than the bus - unless there are 4 of you and the car is full, in which case it can actually be cheaper to get a car than public transport! A 5-10 minute journey, say between East Oxford and Summertown, should cost around £8 (as of winter 2012). The person taking your call should be able to give you a rough quote for your journey when you book.
Why choose a hire car?
They are cheap(er) and convenient - it's much like hiring your own smart chauffered vehicle. And if you like pine air freshener in the shape of a small pine tree, all the better.
Local firms (NB. some of these offer BOTH hire cars and cabs):
001 Taxis: 01865 240000
A1 Taxis: 01865 248000
A2B Oxford Taxi: 01865 477777 / 01865 477477 / 01865 773333
ABC Taxis: 01865 770077 / 01865 242424
ATB Taxis Oxford: 01865 202020
Borjan Mercedes Taxis: 01865 303030
Botley Taxis: 01865 423264 / 07866 423264
Champagne Travel: 07484 664689 / firstname.lastname@example.org (Minibus hire)
Eagle Taxis Oxford 07958 437250
Elite Cars: 01865 250500
Eurekar (book online/download the app)
Go Green Taxis: 01865 922222 (Environmentally friendly: tree planting, low emission vehicles)
Her Ride: 01865 776680 (Female drivers for female clients, female-run company)
Oxford Cars: 01865 406070 / 01865 406080
Oxford Minicab Service: 01865 987749
Royal Cars: 01865 777333 / 01865 778866
Star Cars: 01865 242444 / 01865 987669
Airport Transfer Taxis
If you're visiting the UK, short of time, have lots of luggage or can't manage the bus and can afford it, you may prefer to take a taxi to and from the airport. The following Oxford-based firms offer predominantly long-haul airport transfer services rather than short local journeys. Please note that Daily Information merely lists the following companies - we have not tried them ourselves.
...drivers with local knowledge will transport you to your red carpet event or airport in a Mercedes-Benz E Class
App-based business, where you can also book via the website. Track your taxi before it arrives and once you're on your way. Pay via card or cash, or charge to your corporate account, and rate your driver at the end of your journey. Minimum fare £4.
Findlay Chauffeur Service
...will take you to airports in a black E-class Mercedes if you are part of a business, a government or an educational institution.
Female drivers for female clients, female-run company. As well as meetings and executive travel they also cover school runs.
...provide professionally trained drivers and premium vehicles anywhere in Oxford and London.
...cover Oxon., Berks, London and surrounding. Range of services for both corporate and personal customers.
...do airport transfers, weddings/special occasions and chaffeur services.
Should I tip?
England is a tipping country, but not quite so automatically as America. Minimum wage legislation is supposed to ensure that no one is actually reliant on tips for the bulk of their income, but at the same time it's a small and relatively cheap friendliness to add a tip, and acts as a seal of approval on a job: a taxi driver who gets no tips at all can be fairly sure he's doing something wrong.
You're entirely within your rights not to tip, and if the service has not been satisfactory then you certainly shouldn't. If you have received particularly good service or have been a particularly trying passenger, the done thing is to add 10-12% on to the bill (think 10% and then round up to the nearest convenient coin). If the service has been adequate but nothing special, then it's perfectly acceptable to round up slightly to the nearest pound - but don't expect effusive thanks if the original bill was £5.95!
Help! I've lost something in a taxi!
Losing items of varying monetary value and importance (not always directly related!) on public transport is nothing new. If you have left an item in a taxi, the first thing to do is contact the taxi company who operated your car. They will have a lost property office (or possibly cupboard) and will generally be happy to re-unite you with your item. You may need to reasonably prove it's yours, so be prepared to describe the item and give any distinguishing features. For a wallet this is easy (your name is a good hint) but for more technological items you may need to be more creative. Going to the office and knowing the unlock code for your iphone is good example.
If you can't remember which company operated the taxi you were in, you can either try them all, or narrow down the list by what sort of car it was. If it was a black cab (like a London taxi), it would most likely have been operated by 001 Taxis (240000) or A1 Taxis (248000). If it was a private hire car, ringing the most likely one (who you normally use or the last number in your phone's history) is a good bet. Taxi companies keep a log of their journeys, so they should be able to match your journey if they carried you. Good luck!
Child Car Seats - the law
Children must use child car seats until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first.
However there are exceptions to the law. If a licensed taxi or minicab has a fixed partition separating the front and rear seats (which should apply to all hackney cabs) then if there is no child seat available a child is aged 3 or older they can be in a front or rear seat wearing an adult seat belt, and if a child is aged under 3 they must be in the rear, and can be on a parent's lap(with the parent strapped in with a proper adult seat belt). There is a specific law covering unexpected journeys, which must be unexpected (obviously!), and necessary, and over a short distance. Hackney cabs can usually take a pushchair or buggy much as a bus can, and children under 3 are allowed to travel this way. However it is obviously safest for children to be in a child seat appropriate to their age, height and weight, and nothing else will be as safe as that. Rear-facing seats are safer than forward facing ones, because if the car stops suddenly the child is pushed into the cushion of their seat rather than flying out of their seat. For more info on the law and child seats see here.