Today’s passengers

In an earlier post we looked at Victorian cab passengers and the prices charged in 1862. Today we come right up to date courtesy of The Taxi Centre who have compiled their annual survey of passenger’s attitudes, which are completely at odds with the Victorians, and prices customers are prepared to pay for today’s cab service.

Have you ever wondered whether the price you’re paying for a ride home is normal?

[W]hether your driver appreciates you whiling the miles away with chat about your cat, or if they’d prefer the strong silent type? If not leaving your driver a tip is fine, ‘cos, well, nobody tips in taxis, do they?

To be honest, probably not. But here at The Taxi Centre, we have, and we’ve decided to get to the bottom of things. We’ve surveyed taxi passengers from Dorset to Durham, to find out how and what they ride, how much they pay for the pleasure, how happy they are about it, and how polite they are in the process. Take a look at the results of our survey below.


We asked all respondents for to estimate the average fare they’d usually pay to travel one mile, including minimum fares. With those in the North and the Midlands paying on average more than a quid less per mile, it’s safe (and perhaps not surprising) to say that a North/South divide exists when it comes to taxi prices. Average prices down South were pushed up considerably by respondents from London, some of whom reported minimum fares of over £10!


Next up we asked our passengers which type of taxi they used most often: private hire; hackney cab; or Uber.

Whilst you might have expected private hire services to come out on top, perhaps a bit more surprising is Uber not yet available nationwide coming in second place.

It would be interesting to see how these stats would have fared up a couple of years ago before rideshare apps became so widely used. Would hackney cabs have had a wider share of the market, or would this gap have been closed by more people using private hire services?


A deeper look shows that the further South you go, the more likely taxi passengers are to rely on Uber. Around 30 per cent of Southerners said they used Uber most often, compared to just 14.58 per cent of those in the North.

Our older age range seemed more likely to use taxi apps too, with around 30 per cent of 18-34 year olds using Uber most often compared to 19 per cent of 34-54 year olds.


Despite – or perhaps because of – the bigger market share the app has in Southern cities, a definite North/South divide exists when it comes to getting an Uber.

It might be an attempt to drum up interest, or maybe those famously thrifty Yorkshire folk are simply unwilling to pay any more, but at around £2.50 Leeds currently has the lowest base fare in the country. That’s a good half of the base price that Londoners have to pay, which might explain our next stat.


We asked whether our passengers were happy with the price they usually pay for a cab, and the results we got pretty much mirror a pattern we’ve seen emerging. Unsurprisingly, where taxi prices are higher, passengers are least happy with the prices. Is it true that a quid really does go further in the North. Or, is it that the surge pricing typical of services like Uber is leaving those in the South less satisfied than Northerners?


This might be a bit of a shocking stat for drivers, but 93 per cent of those in the North said they usually provide a little something extra for their driver. And despite being the least satisfied with the fare, having to shell out most in the first place, and being more likely to use apps, 80 per cent of Southerners also said they provided a tip. Those in the Midlands were the least likely to say “keep the change”, but at 69 per cent we would still say they’re not exactly stingy.


With 85 per cent of Northerners saying they usually talk to their driver compared to 81 per cent in the Midlands and 63 per cent in the South, our survey seems to confirm two old clichés; the stuffy Southerner, and the Northerner who for better or worse will take up any opportunity wait to chew someone’s ear off.

Or, it could be that as 68 per cent of Northerners said they used local minicab services most often, those in the North might have simply got to know their drivers a bit better.

Our results also showed that the older spectrum of those surveyed are more likely to chat to their driver, with 81 per cent of 34-54 year olds saying they usually initiate conversation compared to 68 per cent of younger passengers. Women are also marginally less likely to spark up a chat, with only 67 per cent saying they talk to their driver compared to 85 per cent of men.

It’s also worth pointing that it’s hard to determine how many people are classing “been busy mate?” as a conversation.


Our respondents agreed pretty unanimously on their preferred seats, with just over half of all preferring to ride in the back. The only exception appears to be men, who at 55 per cent were the only group to slightly favour front seat riding.

Presumably, those riding up front are Northerners looking to get into ‘prime’ position to regale their life story.


As an aside, we asked our passengers about the most memorable thing to ever happen to them in a taxi. Unsurprisingly, most of the stories were half remembered drunken escapades.

However, amongst the tears, vomit, and stuntman antics, were two good Samaritans, nobly handing in forgotten valuables. We will say that people who frequently pocket found goods are perhaps less likely to brag about it when asked, although before doing this survey we’d have said the same about people who are liable to fall out of moving vehicles when seat-belted in with the doors closed.

So, there we have it, a little snapshot of England’s taxi users in 2016; embracing of new technologies, thrifty, invariably chatty, and more likely to tip (or lie about it) than you might think.

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