London Cabs

Hints to Strangers

Whether you know the proper cab-fare or not, always make a bargain with the cabman when hiring his vehicle; and take a note of his number.

Keep the right hand side of the pavement when walking.

If out with other country friends, keep well together.

Observe caution while crossing crowded thoroughfares.

In asking for information, apply to shopkeepers, or to policemen, rather than to passers-by.

The London police are, for the most part, reliable men; and strangers in any doubt or difficulty can generally obtain useful aid from them.

Be on your guard against pickpockets in crowds, street exhibitions, and omnibuses.

Beware of strangers who endeavour to force their acquaintance on you, and affect to be unacquainted with London; they are often low sharpers.

Keep no more cash about you than is needed for the day's supply.

Be cautious in opening your purse or looking at your watch in the streets.

Avoid low neighbourhoods after dark; if there is anything worth seeing there, see it in the daytime.

Disregard street-beggars; residents only (and not always even they) can tell the deserving from the undeserving.


Practically speaking, the new law ordering cabmen to display a flag, on which is painted their tariff per mile and per hour, is a dead letter.  Few or none shew flags, and many have none to shew.  Cab proprietors can now charge what they please, provided they take out a license from the Commissioners of Metropolitan Police, on which is endorsed the rate by distance or by time intended to be charged, and the number of persons to be carried.  No fare less than one shilling is to be offered.  The driver is to give passenger a card which specifies the licensed price per hour or per mile.  As regards luggage, for each package carried outside 2d. extra is charged.  For each person above two  6d. extra on the entire journey.  If such extra person be a child under 10 years of age, 3d.  Two children of such age to be reckoned as one person.  If cab be discharged more than four miles from Charing Cross by radius, an extra charge will be made for such excess of distance, as per sum stated on cabman's card.  Every full mile of such excess will be charged for at per tariff per mile stated on such card.  Driver is not compelled to drive more than 6 miles.  For every quarter of an hour he is kept waiting, if the cab be hired by time, one-fourth of his tariff per hour.  If hired by distance, for every quarter of an hour of waiting, the rate charged per mile.  By time, for any period under one hour, the sum stated on driver's card as charged per hour.  As a general rule, cabmen charge 2s. per hour for four-wheeled cabs, and 2s. 6d. for “Hansom;” and by distance, 1s. for the first mile, and 6d. for the second, and so on.  Property left in hackney carriages should be asked for at the office for property left in such carriages, at the office of the Commissioners of Police, Great Scotland Yard, Charing Cross.  Cabmen are bound, under a penalty, to take such lost property to the nearest police station within 24 hours.  In case of disagreement between a cabman and his passenger, the latter can compel the cabman to drive to the nearest police office; and if a Magistrate be then sitting, he will at once settle the dispute.  If such office is closed, the cabman may be required to drive to the nearest police station, where the complaint will be entered, and adjudicated at the magistrate's next sitting.  Our readers cannot do better than purchase (price 1s.) a little book on the subject of Cab Fares and Regulations, published under the auspices of the Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police.  It can be ordered through any bookseller, or may be purchased direct, at the office for its sale, a few doors north of the entrance to Great Scotland Yard.  In it will be found a list of fares, and the distances in yards, from many parts in London to others.  Its usefulness will amply repay our readers for their small outlay in its purchase.