A taxi fare can depend on a number of things, including the type of taxi you use (class A, B, C, or D) and when your journey takes places. You should never use an unlicensed taxi.
Class A and B taxi fares
If you use a class A or B taxi, they must use taximeters during your journey to make sure you are not charged more than the maximum fare.
The fare you are charged cannot be more than the fare shown on the taximeter.
A maximum fare structure is set, outlined in the fare card on display inside the taxi. The card will show the following charges:
Rate 1Monday to Friday (6.00 am to 8.00 pm)
Rate 2Monday to Thursday (8.00 pm to 6.00 am)
Rate 3Friday 8.00 pm to Monday 6.00 am, and on set days*
|Christmas rate (24 December 2.00 pm to 27 December 6.00 am)||New Year’s rate (31 December 8.00 pm to 1 January midnight)|
|Initial charge (0.5 miles)||
|Every extra mile||
*Set days - depending on changes made by Royal Proclamation
'Rate 3' in the table above applies from 8.00 pm the day before, until 6.00 am the day after on the following days:
- St Patrick's Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- May Day
- Spring Bank Holiday
- 12 July
- Summer Bank Holiday
- A day named as a Bank Holiday by Royal Proclamation
The extra mile charge has been rounded up to make it easy to judge the rough cost of your journey. The actual cost is closer to £1.70 per mile for rate 1, 2 and 3 for example.
There may be extra charges if:
- your taxi journey includes some waiting time or is held up by traffic
- more than four passengers use the taxi – £1.00 for each extra passenger
- your taxi journey is to an airport and the taxi has to pay for entry to the airport
- you soil the taxi and the driver has to stop working to get the vehicle cleaned (this charge is up to a maximum of £75.00)
For full details of the maximum fares go to maximum fares schedule of the legislation.
You will be offered a receipt for your fare.
If you use a class A or B taxi, the drivers are not obliged to use a taximeter when:
- the taxi is being used to give an executive service or a tour service (an executive service is where the taxi is used for carrying passengers for a corporate, ceremonial or prestige booking)
- on a journey that includes ‘dead miles’ (see dead miles exemption below)
- the taxi is being used to give a service for a health and social care body or the Education Authority
'Dead Miles' exemption
On occasion some class A and B taxi drivers have to travel quite a distance with an empty taxi to collect a passenger, with no payment for that part of the journey.
'Dead miles' is the term used to describe mileage done by the taxi driver to drive to a booking without passengers in the taxi.
For example, driving from Antrim town with an empty taxi to Randalstown (around six miles) to pick up a passenger who wants to travel two miles - in total the driver travels eight miles, but can only charge for two, as the legislation does not allow the taximeter to be started until the journey begins.
If you have a ‘dead miles’ taxi journey:
- the taxi operator (rather than driver) must tell you that the distance the taxi will be travelling to collect you is further than the actual distance of your journey in the taxi
- you must agree with the taxi operator (rather than driver) that you are content that the fare will not be worked out by the taximeter
At the time of booking, the fare for the journey must be agreed and it cannot be increased after the taxi has been booked.
The following information must be recorded in writing and carried in the taxi during the journey and a copy offered to you in writing or by electronic format:
- confirmation that you’ve been told that the fare will not be worked out on the meter, as the journey involves dead miles
- the fare agreed for the journey
- the name of the person for whom the taxi booking is made
- the date and time of the journey
- the place of collection
- the destination
- the taxi driver’s licence number
If a taxi driver or operator does a ‘dead miles’ journey without doing the steps outlined above, they may liable to a fixed penalty ticket for one or more of the following offences:
- fail to use the taximeter - £30.00
- fail to issue a taximeter printer receipt - £30.00
- demanding a fare greater than the maximum - £120.00
Class C taxi fares
If you use a class C taxi (such as vehicles used for chauffeur services, weddings, funerals, and courtesy transport) the maximum fare structure does not apply.
Therefore, you must agree a fare before you travel and you cannot be charged more than that fare.
Class D taxi fares
The maximum fare structure does not apply to class D taxis. These taxis charge separate fares set by the taxi operator.
You can find out more detailed information about taxi classes on the taxis and their services page.
Complaining about a fare
If you are unhappy with the fare, make your complaint to the driver or the taxi operator.
A licensed taxi operator has a duty to record any complaints, including keeping details of actions taken following a complaint.