Working out a ‘fair’ price to charge per mile can be a bit of a conundrum for taxi drivers who want to stay competitive. Read this Taxi Insurer guide to get an idea of how much a taxi costs per mile in the UK.


Here at The Taxi Insurer we have lots of help and advice perfect for taxi drivers. If you’re asking yourself ‘what does taxi insurance cover?’ give us a call today.


Taxi costs per mile


As demand for taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV) increase and the costs of running a taxi also rise, the question of how much a taxi costs per mile in the UK is an important one. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer.


The cost of a typical taxi ride can vary across the country and is based on a variety of factors. For example, where the journey begins and ends, the time of day, duration of the trip, and the distance travelled will all play a part.


Working out the fare you should charge for a trip can be tricky, particularly when you’re just starting out or you’ve moved to a new area.


When you’re already asking yourself ‘what does taxi insurance cover?’ or ‘how can I save on fuel?’ it can seem like you just have too many questions to answer.


So, to give you a helping hand, we've put together this quick guide to taxi fares in the UK, so you can see what other areas are charging.


Prices are correct at the time of writing - check individual council websites for the most up-to-date details.


Who sets taxi fares and tariffs?


When it comes to taxi fares in the UK it isn’t a free-for-all, it’s a tightly regulated industry. It’s the local licensing authorities who are responsible for setting the maximum fare a taxi driver can charge a passenger within the licensing area.


While taxi drivers are within their rights to charge lower fares or offer special discounts if they want, they aren’t allowed to charge more than the current maximum. If you do overcharge then you could be hit with a £1,000 fine and be forced to refund the overcharged amount.


All taxis are fitted with meters, which calculate the fare based on the distance travelled and any waiting time when the taxi is stopped in traffic. A ‘tariff of fares’ card must also be displayed inside the taxi so passengers can check that the correct fare is being charged for that area.


To find out the appropriate fares to charge for your location, go to your local authority website where you’ll be able to find a table of fares for hackney carriages. If you’re unsure about who your local council is, then use this online tool.


Depending on the design of the council website this might take a bit of clever navigation to find the right information. If in doubt, call the council’s taxi and private hire licensing team directly and they should be able to help.


If you’re working in London then the situation is slightly different. In the capital, Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for reviewing and setting taxi fares and tariffs.


When referring to any table of fares, you’ll find different tariff rates depending on the time of day when the journey takes place and the distance travelled. Often there is also a minimum fare set for all times.


For example, in London, TfL has created four different tariff rates and has set a minimum fare of £3.80 at all times.


Three tariffs depending on the time of day and a fourth for longer journeys. These are:


Tariff 1 - Applies from Monday to Friday between 5am and 8pm. Except on public holidays.


Tariff 2 - Applies from Monday to Friday between 8pm and 10pm or on the weekend between 5am and 10pm. Except on public holidays.


Tariff 3 - Applies every night between 10pm and 5am the following morning. Or at any time on public holidays.


Tariff 4 - Applies for any journey over six miles.


Every local authority will have set its own tariff rates. So, it’s important to check the fares that are chargeable in your area. Never assume that neighbouring areas will have the same set-up.


So, what happens if the trip goes outside the local authority boundary? Well, the tariffs might not apply then. But it’s sensible to check the situation in your local area first, as sometimes they will still apply.


However, to avoid any dispute if the journey does take you outside the area, it’s important that the taxi driver and passenger agree how much the fare will be before setting off. As long as the passenger doesn’t request a change during the journey, the pre-agreed fare is what you should charge.


If no fare has been agreed before setting off, then the most you can charge will be that shown on the meter at the end of the journey.


What about private hire fares?


woman waiting for taxi to pick her up 


The tariff rates above only apply to hackney carriages. When it comes to PHV drivers the situation is different.


Fares for PHVs are not set by the local licensing authority and firms running PHVs have much more freedom when it comes to fares. While some PHV drivers choose to have a meter fitted and use the same fares as hackney carriage vehicles, others don’t.


Again, to avoid disputes over fares, if a PHV driver is not using a taxi meter then it’s important to agree on the cost of the journey before setting off.


For example, while hackney carriage fares don’t apply to Uber drivers, when booking via the app, passengers are told how much the journey should cost.


The fare a PHV driver will charge will depend on the traffic conditions and the time of the journey, meaning the price can often go up or down depending on the availability of drivers.


Average cost of a taxi fare per mile in the UK


With so many local authorities and taxi fleets in the UK, finding out the ‘average’ cost for a taxi fare per mile is difficult. To start off with, the minimum fare for a cab will vary from anywhere between £2 to over £4 depending on the area and the time of day.


This is the amount you can charge even if the journey only lasts a couple of hundred metres. For example, Kirklees Council has set the minimum fare at £2 for the first third of a mile. After that it costs from £1.40 per mile depending on the time of day.


Just as the minimum fare varies across the country, so does the cost per mile. As a ballpark figure, average taxi fares are likely to cost somewhere between £1.20 to £3 per mile.


But this will depend on the location, day of the week, time of day, and whether there are any special events or holidays taking place. You’ll really need to refer to your local authority for more detail.


Read on to find out a bit more of what you can expect to charge in some of the UK’s busiest cab markets.




According to TfL data, typical fares and journey times based on distance for the different tariffs are as follows.



Journey Time

Monday to Friday 5am - 8pm

Monday to Friday 8pm - 10pm, Saturday and Sunday - 5am - 10pm

Every night 10pm - 5am, public holidays - all day

1 mile

6-13 minutes




2 miles

10-20 minutes




4 miles

16-30 minutes




6 miles

28-40 minutes




Heathrow to Central London

30-60 minutes





Fares and journey times can obviously be higher if there are delays or heavy traffic. As we said previously, this is in addition to the £3.80 minimum fare that’s chargeable at all times.


PHV drivers in London and elsewhere are free to set their own charge. Bear in mind that in view of the highly competitive nature of taxi work, you don’t want to price yourself out of the market.


There are so many taxis and PHVs operating in London, that passengers aren’t afraid to shop around. Just as you may ask ‘what does taxi insurance cover?’ so they might ask ‘is this really the best deal?’


TfL says that any extra charges must be added on the meter at the start of the journey. There should be no extra charges for luggage, additional passengers or assistance dogs.


Extra charges can include:


Telephone and online bookings – Up to £2 extra if the taxi is booked by phone or online.


Heathrow Airport – Journeys starting at Heathrow Airport taxi ranks incur an extra charge of £3.60. An extra charge of up to £5.20 for dropping off passengers in one of the terminal drop-off zones.


Christmas & New Year – An additional £4.00 for any journeys between 8pm on 24 December and 6am on 27 December, or between 8pm on 31st December and 6am on 2nd January.


Soiling – If a taxi needs to be taken out of service to deal with soiling, then the passenger can be charged up to £60.




Manchester has a two-tier system of fares based on the time of day. The average cost per mile not including waiting time is:



Daytime 6am – 10pm

Night time 10pm – 6am, bank holidays and Good Friday

1 mile



3 miles



5 miles



7 miles



9 miles



10 miles




Extra charges include:


Christmas & New Year – From 8pm on 24th December until 6am on 27th December the Night Rate applies. From 8pm on 31st December until 6am on 2nd January an additional 50% can be charged.


Extra passengers – 20p each.


Soiling charge – £30.


Piccadilly Station – An additional 60p for any journey starting/ending at the Piccadilly Station taxi rank.


Manchester Airport – An additional 60p for any journey starting/ending at the Ground Transport interchange. £3 for drop off at any air terminal. £1.60 for pick up at any air terminal.




Bristol currently has a six-tariff system as set out in this table:



Tariff 1 – Day Rate

Tariff 2 – Night Rate

Tariff 3 – Weekend Day Rate

Tariff 4 – Weekend Night rate

Tariff 5 – Bank / Public Holiday Rate

Tariff 6 – Christmas and New Year Night Rate


Monday to Friday 6am to 9pm

Monday to Friday 9pm to 6am

Saturday and Sunday 6am to 9pm

Saturday and Sunday 9pm to 6am

From 12.01am to 6am (unless Tariff 6 applies)

From 9pm on 24/12 to 6am on 27/12, from 9pm on 31/12 to 6am on 2/1

Initial hire







Approximate per mile charge








Extra charges include:


Temple Meads Railway Station – 20p for journeys commencing here.


Additional adult passengers – 30p


Luggage – 20p to 30p depending on size. Bicycles and particularly bulky items can cost more.


Uncaged animal (except for assistance dog) - £2.


Soiling charge - £100.


Be aware that many councils are reviewing taxi fares and these figures may be changed in the near future. Bristol in one such council which could see big increases on maximum fares.




For taxis with a taxi meter working in the Northern Irish capital the following maximum fares apply:



Rate 1 – Monday to Friday 6am to 8pm

Rate 2 – Monday to Thursday 8pm to 6am

Rate 3 – Friday 8pm to Monday 6am and on set days

Christmas Rate – 31 December 8pm to 1 January midnight

New Year Rate – 31 December 8pm to 1 January midnight

Initial hire (including 0.5 miles)






One mile






Every extra mile







Extra charges include:


More than four passengers using the taxi – £1 for each additional passenger.


Airport transfers – If the taxi has to pay for entry to the airport.


Soiling charge – Up to £75 if the driver has to stop working to get the vehicle cleaned.




For taxis in the Scottish capital the following maximum fares apply:



Tariff 1 – Monday to Friday 6am to 6pm

Tariff 2 – Monday to Friday 6pm to 6am the following day. 6am Saturday to 6am Monday

Tariff 3 – Monday to Friday 6am to 6pm during Christmas and New Year period

Tariff 4 – All day 25 December and all day 1 January

Initial hire (including first 501m)





Each additional 163m up until 1805m and thereafter each additional 190m





Each additional 179m up until 1933m and thereafter for each additional 207m






Extra charges include:


More than three passengers using the taxi – 40p each.


Journeys ending at Edinburgh Airport Inner Drop-off Zone – £4.


Journeys commencing at Edinburgh Airport – up to £5.


Call out charge when pre-booked – 80p.


Soiling charge - £50.




For taxis in the Welsh capital the following maximum fares apply:




Initial hire (including first 103 yards)


If distance exceeds 103 yards, for the next 103 yards


For each subsequent 195 yards



On top of waiting time the following extra charges can also apply:


Journeys between midnight and 6am, and on Sundays and Bank Holidays – £1.


Journeys between Christmas Eve 8pm and 27 December 6am, and between New Year’s Eve 8pm and 2 January 6am – £3


More than four passengers using the taxi – £1 for each additional passenger.


Bicycles, cabin trunks and furniture – 50p.


Soiling charge – £50.


What does taxi insurance cover?


When you’re driving around such busy cities, you may encounter a whole host of risks to your vehicle and taxi business. ‘What does taxi insurance cover?’ is a very important question to ask.


Taxi insurance to cover either your taxi or PHV vehicle should provide a high level of cover as standard. But in addition to that, you might want to consider adding a range of options to your policy to create bespoke protection.


Getting specialist insurance cover that suits your individual needs and budget is a smart idea to protect your business. The following are worth taking into account when you’re next searching for great value taxi insurance:


Breakdown cover – Specialised breakdown cover often includes separate onward travel to get your passengers to their destination.


Taxi vehicle replacement – When an accident puts your vehicle out of action what can you do? Well, some insurers even provide a courtesy plated vehicle so you can stay on the road and earn.


Legal protection – This could help if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. It could also cover your legal costs if you’re ever prosecuted when working as a taxi driver. 


Public liability cover – When you deal with members of the public on such a regular basis this is an important element to consider adding to your cover. It will protect you from any claims brought by members of the public who have been injured or had their property damaged by you or your taxi business.


Windscreen cover – With so much time spent out on the roads, you never know when your windscreen may suffer a crack, chip or something worse. Windscreen cover could be a useful way to get yourself back on the road as quickly as possible.


Remember, as well as considering what does taxi insurance cover, you also need to find out what it doesn’t cover. Ask your insurer about exclusions under your taxi cab insurance policy.


Avoiding fare disputes and other useful advice from Taxi Insurer


someone paying for the taxi with their phone


Here at The Taxi Insurer, we’re always looking for ways to make life that bit easier.


From 20 tips for successful taxi fares and the ultimate guide to driving a taxi at night to a quick guide to taxi tipping, we’ve got lots of helpful advice just right for you.


If you have any insurance-related questions at all, give us a call first for straightforward answers.


Wondering what does taxi insurance cover? Then contact our helpful team today and we can answer your questions. While also getting you a quick quote for taxi insurance of course!