The Difference Between Hackney Cabs and Private Hire Vehicles

If you’re not familiar with the two available taxi options for Edinburgh, this short yet concise guide will explain things a little better.

Hackney Carriages, better known as “Black Cabs”, are specially designed vehicles licensed by the City of Edinburgh to pick up passengers from the road side or from telephone/internet booking. Black cabs are also allowed to operate within rail stations, airports and such, utilising a taxi rank to wait for passing trade.

Black cabs are equipped to take up to five passengers and have the ability to house a wheelchair user too.

The alternative is a Private Hire taxi, which is simply an ordinary vehicle with a license to operate as a taxi for pre-booked journeys only. You cannot “flag down” a Private Hire taxi in the street, they must be booked in advanced.

Both types of taxi operate using fare meters with tariffs set by the local authority. Whilst Hackney carriages are easy to recognise, both taxis must display their licensing plates externally (usually below/beside the car’s number plate) and the drivers must be licensed to operate a taxi vehicle.

Due to the fact you can pick a Hackney cab from the road side, the fees are higher for your journey. However, many do not mind paying for the privaledge as Hackney cabs are also extremely distinct and thus perceived as safer than a Private Hire vehicle.

The City of Edinburgh is home to numerous taxi companies, both Hackney and Private Hire, some with fantastic offers to ensure you get an excellent service at a competative price. Whilst taxi tariffs are set by the council, many Private Hire companies either offer reduced rates or fixed fees to specific destinations (such as Edinburgh Airport) in a bid to remain competative.