London Heliport advertises with Chauffeur, taxi and local private hire car services. That sounds like three times the same thing, but I've seen taxi and private hire mentioned separately elsewhere as well. What are the differences? Does private hire mean things like Uber and other unlicensed taxis, sometimes referred to as gypsy cabs?

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    I would have said that in the UK a taxi is licenced to ply for hire anywhere but a private hire car has to be booked with its central office. Not sure what chauffeur is though.
    – mdewey
    Oct 8 '17 at 16:01
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    "Private hire cars" in London are licensed, but to different standards than "taxis". Uber falls in this category; there's a huge debacle running right a the moment because the agency in charge has refused to renew the operating license of Uber's local subsidiary. Oct 8 '17 at 16:34
  • @HenningMakholm I thought that was a taxi license for Uber that was not renewed, but maybe that was sloppy reporting. Does that mean private hire drivers (Uber or not) do not have to pass The Knowledge?
    – gerrit
    Oct 8 '17 at 16:36
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    @gerrit: Private hire drivers do not have to pass The Knowledge. That's the one main difference; the other is that they're not allowed to "ply for hire", i.e. they can't legally be hired by someone who approaches them in the street but must be booked in advance. (Part of the controversy surrounding Uber is that their model seems to loophole the latter requirement when "in advance" can become "30 seconds before you need to be picked up" in practice). Oct 8 '17 at 16:42
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    In many countries a difference between "private hire" and "taxi" is that taxis are considered a common carrier, and have an obligation to transport you. So if you board a taxi a rank, or hail one in the street they have to bring you to where you ask them to bring you, regardless of whether it is convenient or worthwhile to do so. Private hire drivers can refuse trips. And this is another one of the controversies surrounding Uber. Uber drivers can refuse trips, and if Uber manages to drive taxis out of the market the market the customer loses in the end... Aug 17 '20 at 7:10

Chauffeur: may only be supplied to customers of the heliport.

Taxi: licenced, can ply for trade (you can hail at the roadside).

Private hire: licenced for pre-booked journeys only (but you can book by phone and be picked up as soon as a car can reach you).

For what it's worth, Uber falls in the last category.

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