Posts Tagged ‘Cabs & Fares’

cover_nyBack in 2013 I posted a series of posts based on the 1930 edition of Ward Lock & Co’s “ Illustrated Guide Book to London”. For those who have followed this blog for a while it should come as no surprise that I also have in my possession the 1910 edition of Ward Lock & Co’s illustrated guide book for the same city. And just for the record, I have the 1948 and 1956 editions too.

This will be the first post based on the 1910 edition which is surprisingly enough more richly illustrated than the one from 1930. And we start of course with the introduction and work our way through the most interesting parts of the book – Ted

Cabs & Fares

CABS These vehicles, for which there are stands in or adjoining all the principal thoroughfares, are of three kinds taximeter motor cabs, hansoms, & four-wheelers, Some of the two latter classes of vehicle are now also provided with taximeters.

The Motor Taximeters, introduced in 1907, are fast ousting the older forms of conveyance. The taximeter is a small piece of machinery, generally set to the left of the driver, which automatically records the fare by a combination of time and distance as the journey proceeds. When “ in repose " a small flag of red metal is displayed bearing the words for hire.

Directly the cab is engaged, the driver turns down the flag and the machinery by means of which the fare is calculated is set in motion. Four passengers can generally be accommodated. The vehicles are roomy, smartly painted, well upholstered, and silent running, and can be used either open or closed, according to the weather.


Their one drawback is that they usually only convey a small quantity of luggage. The drivers, who are all stylishly uniformed and present none of the picturesque but not always agreeable oddities of the old-style cabman, are generally paid by a commission on their earnings, and have to pay for their own petrol and to provide  “rank money” and other expenses. 

Needless to say, they have no insuperable objection to accepting a few coins of the realm over and above the amount demanded by the dial. The following is the ofiicial scale of charges for taximeter motor-cabs, whether hired or discharged within or without the four-mile radius from Charing Cross:

Two children under ten count as one person.

Not exceeding one mile, or for time
not exceeding ten minutes:
0s. 8d.
Exceeding one mile or ten mimutes
(1) For each quarter of a mile, or time
not exceeding two and a half minutes
0s. 2d.
(2) For any less distance or time:
Each additional person beyond two,
the whole journey
0s. 6d.
Packages carried outside
0s. 2d.
Bicycles, etc.
0s. 6d.

In addition to their use in town, motor “taxies" are often hired for country and seaside trips. It is optional for other public vehicles to adopt the taximeter system; these also are usually distinguished by a small flag. The following is the official scale for Horse-drawn Taximeter cabs:

Not exceeding one mile, or for time not exceeding 12 minutes 
0s. 6d.
Exceeding one mile or 12 minutes; for each half-mile, or
time not exceeding six minutes; or any less distance or time
0s. 3d.


Handsoms in Regent Street

Hansoms, named after their 1nventor, are two-wheeled vehicles with a perch for the driver behind. They have seats for two only, but are frequently used by three. The “fare” communicates with the driver by means of a trap-door in the roof.The Four-wheelers, or “Growlers" seat four inside with more or less discomfort, and accommodate an outside passenger on the box. They are generally employed when the traveller is encumbered with heavy luggage.

Four-wheelers aka Growlers at Westminister

To summon a taximeter, a cab-whistle is blown once; for a hansom twice; for a four-Wheeler three times. Fares for non-taximeter cabs are usually computed by distance; but they may be calculated by time instead, if the hirer expresses his wish for such an arrangement when taking the cab.

Fares By Distance
If hired and discharged within the 4-mile radius from Charing Cross,
1s. for two miles or under; 6d. for each additional mile, for not more than two persons; each additional person 6d. extra for the entire journey. Two children under ten count as one adult.

If hired outside the radius, wherever discharged,
1s. for the first mile; 1s. each succeeding mile or part of a mile.

If hired within but discharged without the radius,
1s. for the first mile, 6d. for each mile ended within circle, 1s. for each mile ended without circle, 1s. for any part of a mile over.

Cabs kept waiting,
8d. for each completed quarter of an hour. Drivers of horse-drawn cabs not fitted with a taximeter may, if they so desire, intimate to the “fare,” their willingness to accept sixpence for any journey not exceeding a mile.

Fares By Time
Within the radius,
four-wheelers, 2s.; hansoms, 2s. 6d. for the first hour; 6d. and 8d. for each additional quarter hour.

If hired outside the radius wherever discharged, or if hired within but discharged without,
four-wheelers and hansoms, 2s. 6d. for the first hour or less; 8d. for each additional quarter hour.

Luggage carried outside the cab, 2d. per package, bicycles, etc., 6d.

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