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I've lived in the UK all my life, but since I have got relatively few shared taxis in my life, I don't have that much experience of what the social norms are for tipping.

I almost always tip roughly 10% (to nearest pound, occasionally to nearest 50p as long as that's MORE than 10%), just because that's what my parents taught me.

Is tipping required? Expected? A bonus?

I occasionally don't tip - would that reflect badly on me or would the driver not think anything of it?

When people do tip, how much is the norm?

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    I also normally tip circa 10 % but do not know if it is custom in london/uk – smashtastic Mar 26 '14 at 21:10
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+50

I'm afraid my answer will be nothing more than anecdotal. My source is that I lived in London for a while. The bottom line is that no tip is required. However some people do tip, as it often happens in these cases, be it for habit, or because they feel they have to.

Minicabs

With minicabs (in London) I always agreed the fare in advance, and made sure the driver did not attempt to squeeze a few extra pounds from me by quoting him the price before paying. Anything as simple as "It's £15 right?" will do the trick. I usually never tipped, unless the driver provided an extra useful service, such as helping me with heavy luggage for example. This last consideration applies to minicabs outside of London too. I also tipped one particular driver, who picked me up so many times from Heathrow that I used to ask for him specifically when booking.

Black Cabs

As far as I remember I never tipped a black cab. I certainly never tipped 10%. I always thought of the cost of the service being so high that no tip was needed. I never heard drivers complain about this. Maybe I was (am) just cheap. Or maybe it's just the way I am used. Moreover, now that card payments are widely used, I don't even know if there is an option to add tip before paying.

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    I am a Londoner, and born and bred in the UK. Agreed with this - although I sometimes tip black cabs, many/most folk I know don't. I think there is a creeping tendency towards tipping, much as there has been in restaurants in the UK in the last 25 years or so. But it's absolutely not required - although it is a nice thing to do if the cab driver has been particularly polite or helpful. Where I do tip, I round it up, I don't calculate a percentage. – Andrew Ferrier Dec 24 '14 at 21:33
  • I think tipping is only required if the wage assumes tips. In the US for example, most restaurants and other service businesses count tips as wage and thus, the salary paid to wait staff is prorated. I am not sure how it is in the UK - but that might be a good litmus test. – Burhan Khalid Jul 24 '16 at 5:16
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    @BurhanKhalid: this became controversial a few years ago in the UK, and the outcome was that the government banned employers from paying less than the legal minimum wage on the basis that tips were making up the difference. So there may be staff who are paid less than they otherwise would be for a job, in the expectation of tips, but legally speaking the employer can't count tips as wages for the purposes of meeting the minimum wage. Some restaurants are still pretty shady, though, and AFAIK a 10% "service charge" still need not be treated as a tip. – Steve Jessop Aug 4 '16 at 12:52
  • I think there's a creeping tendency away from tipping, but maybe I'm just getting tighter in my middle age. Otherwise my anecdotal evidence agrees with yours :-) – nekomatic Feb 12 '18 at 12:57
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It's not a requirement to tip taxi drivers in the UK. However, it's generally accepted as the 'done thing'. Note however there are different taxis - the famous 'black cabs', that have official rates, and other unlicensed minicabs where you'll need to organise a rate before you start driving.

Source - used to live in London, and tripadvisor.

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    Your comment about minicabs only applies in London — it's only in London where they are obliged to have agreed a fare in advance. Elsewhere they're metered. – gsnedders Dec 8 '14 at 13:31
  • @gsnedders ah, valid point. I only caught cabs in London in the UK, as far as I can recall. – Mark Mayo Dec 10 '14 at 7:17
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Yes it is conventional to tip taxis in the UK, just rounding up the fare something like 10%-15% is more than adequate. A professional licensed cab driver isn't going to say anything if you choose not to tip but unlicensed minicabs might ask for a tip. If you're getting a minicab from an office (they often have a yellow light at night) then agree the fare in advance.

  • Do you have a source for that? – starsplusplus Mar 27 '14 at 9:37
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    If you book a taxi from an operator, I would assume you don't have to. Never given a single penny in the past 5 years and no cab driver has ever grumbled when I pay the fare. – DumbCoder Mar 27 '14 at 14:24
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    Outside of London, it's practically unheard of to agree fares in advance, as far as I'm aware. – gsnedders Dec 8 '14 at 13:31
  • As I understand it outside london it's common to agree fares in advance for long trips or regular scheduled trips but not for ad-hoc local trips. – Peter Green Oct 30 '15 at 3:29
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10% is normal here in London.

It is polite to tip 10-15% of the taxi fare for black cabs and licensed minicabs in London. However, most people simply round up the fare to the nearest £1 and tell the driver to "keep the change". If you've had a longer journey and the driver has assisted you with luggage, you may wish to tip a little more, up to £5.

http://www.visitlondon.com/traveller-information/essential-information/money/tipping

It is not a requirement to tip in taxis, but it is customary to round up to the nearest pound on metered taxi journeys, more as a convenience to both passenger and driver than as a tip.

On an airport journey in a booked minicab you might wish to tip two or three pounds if the driver helps with your luggage. If taking a licenced London taxi cab to or from Heathrow or in London a 10% tip is the average amount, although as in the previous paragraph, it is not a requirement, nor should it be expected by the driver.

There is a big difference between a taxi (usually a black cab) and a mini-cab. Anyone who can drive can become a mini-cab driver whereas taxi drivers have received a lengthy training, tend to know their way and serve better. They are required to take the shortest route between points. However, the price of a black cab is usually markedly steeper than that of other services, and some will refuse to tip on these grounds.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g186216-s606/United-Kingdom:Tipping.And.Etiquette.html

About 10% of the total fare is usual for licensed, metered taxis. Rural taxis and minicabs usually charge a pre-agreed, flat fare and many people do not add an additional tip.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/sep/29/how-much-should-i-tip-etiquette-tipping-service-charges

Taxi drivers in London expect a tip of 10 to 15 per cent

The custom is to tip black cabs but not minicabs

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/to-tip-or-not-to-tip-what-is-the-answer-1526498.html (dating from 1995)

What proportion of people leave a tip?

Business customers are more likely to always tip (7 in 10), while around half of personal customers do

Taxi & Private Hire card payment, Transport for London 2009, p.57

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    Do you have any citations for what people actually tip, or what they claim to leave in surveys? I'm wary of these articles that seem to be as uninformed as the people who ask them for recommendations. – Berwyn Jul 24 '16 at 20:26
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    @Berwyn Info is thin on the ground but I've found something and added it. FWIW I usually tip taxi drivers about 10%, except with Uber where they explicitly say it's not expected. – A E Jul 24 '16 at 21:40
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No it isn't! I am English, have lived in Oxford and London all my life, have taken hundreds of cabs and generally don't tip. I have never had any sign that tipping is expected. I occasionally tip, either if I really bonded with the driver, enjoying a good conversation on the way, or if I was late and the driver waited for me. Otherwise, no. Some people tip, some people don't, but there is no convention, and I would suggest that you don't do it, unless you receive exemplary service.

protected by Community Apr 10 at 17:16

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