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There are two kinds of taxis in Glasgow - the black cabs and the private hire firms. Black cabs roam the streets and you can stop them if they are free - you’ll know that they are because the orange light at the front will be illuminated. Fares are by the meter and often include a surcharge if traveling after midnight – if you’re unsure then just ask the driver, most Glasgow taxi drivers are a friendly bunch! There are boundary charges too if you go outside the city, again ask in advance. Choose the cab service you feel most confident with. You can do that directly online: Info Taxi , the main online taxi professional community worldwide publishes not only Glasgow taxi companies working in the area (black cabs, limousine and private hire), but also peoples' opinions and views about the services they have used. For extra security, the City's black cabs will usually wait for lone passengers to unlock their doors and/or enter hotels.
At Glasgow International Airport it is best to telephone for a Taxi Owners Association (TOA) black cab from the Arrivals Hall if you are travelling into Glasgow centre. If you take a black taxi from the rank at the airport, you will incur a substantial boundary charge for crossing into Glasgow City. Phone before you collect your luggage from the carousel as the service is usually quite prompt and they will tell you where the taxi will stop outside the terminal building to collect you.
Black cabs also sit at several taxi ranks around the city – Glasgow Central, Queen Street, and Buchanan Bus Stations are always a good bet. In the West End there is a rank on Byres Road just outside Hillhead Subway station. Getting a taxi in Glasgow is pretty easy most of the time, the exception being around midnight at week-ends when the many bars in the City Centre close – you’ll find it difficult to find a free one on the streets and lines can be long at the ranks.
Private hire firms are normal cars (sometimes with a Taxi sign of the roof) which must display taxi license information. These taxis will normally be cheaper but have to be called in advance. There are many companies and you’ll be able to find numbers within local phone books or directories. Most of these taxis don’t have obvious meters that you can see and will charge by distance – but again don’t be afraid to ask for a rough fare estimate in advance. Private Hire firms will do a fixed rate to/from the airport.
FYI - people do normally tip taxi drivers unless there has been an issue – if it’s a low fare than normally rounding it up to the nearest pound is fine, and if you’ve traveled a bit further a couple of pounds is all you need to tip.