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I have found that different cities have different regulations and I have been in places where 4 persons can travel in any cab (3 in back seat, one in front seat) while other cities don't allow front seat for passengers. Of course there are bigger taxis, but I mean in case I don't find one and just get common cabs (1+3 passengers).

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    The London black cabs I've been in seat up to five, three on the main bench seat at the back, and two on jump seats facing them. There is no seat next to the driver. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 5 '17 at 14:27
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    If you book by telephone just specify there are four of you. As others have said London black taxis are a standard design which will take four of you comfortably as long as at least one of you does not mind travelling with his/her back to the direction of travel. – mdewey Dec 5 '17 at 14:31
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    it's unclear if you mean actual "black cabs" or other variations. black cabs seat five passengers (all in the back; there is no seat in the front), and loads of luggage. if you're from the states, they're sort of like a minivan. – Fattie Dec 5 '17 at 16:36
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    Be aware that while London Black Cabs are the only vehciles you can legally flag down off the street, there are a variety of "private hire" services (often called minicabs in London, and presently including Uber) that you can book by phone or app. These use "normal" cars by and large, which vary somewhat. – CMaster Dec 5 '17 at 17:55
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    The general rule for taxis is one passenger per available seatbelt. – Mark Berglund Dec 5 '17 at 18:41
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London cabs will usually have additional seats in the back which fold up when not in use.

This allows up to 5 people to ride in the back.

Like below:

Rear Black Cab

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    Be aware that you might not get a black cab if calling ahead and you don't request one!. It's more likely if you're coming from an airport or train station, and the phone attendant may ask how many of you there are, but make sure to state there is 4. (Also if you have lots of luggage, let them know this as well, they may send a minibus or people carrier). – djsmiley2k - CoW Dec 5 '17 at 15:12
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    Also in a 'normal' private hire car (which you can't just pickup from the street), you can sit in the front if allowed to by the driver. – djsmiley2k - CoW Dec 5 '17 at 15:13
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    @djsmiley2k I thought it is quite normal to sit in the front, especially if you are traveling alone. I assume that's a culture thing, though. – Belle-Sophie Dec 5 '17 at 15:32
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    @Belle - in London Black cabs (and NY ones) you can't sit in the fromt seat, it is not just culture but physical access – user151019 Dec 5 '17 at 16:25
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    @user2357112 They are much better padded than any airplane foldy tray I have used. They really are seats, with a hinge that allows the horizontal part to fold up out of the way when they are not in use. – Patricia Shanahan Dec 5 '17 at 18:51
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All licenced UK taxis have a plate on the rear of the vehicle indicating how many passengers they allow. Usually, it's fairly obvious from looking inside the cab, but a quick look at the rear will tell you. In the image below, it shows "Licensed to Carry 5 Persons."

enter image description here

Any cab that doesn't have a plate like this on the back can be considered unlicensed. In London, there are people who drive around in their own cars looking for fares -they don't care how many people they carry, and they're not insured for this work.

  • I suppose the last line is referring to Uber? – gerrit Dec 6 '17 at 19:39
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    @gerrit No, not intentionally. In years past (way before Uber) I’ve seen private cars picking up clubbers and taking them home for a few quid. – user52676 Dec 6 '17 at 19:47
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There are two cases. To legally flag down a cab in London, it should be a standard taxi, and therefore seat at least 5, as described in a prior answer.

It is often cheaper to use some form of "private hire" service. They are only allowed to pick up passengers by prior arrangement. As noted in comments on the question, when you contact the service to arrange a ride you can tell them how many passengers, and they should send a suitable vehicle.

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