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Black cabs turning white for Oz

2013-10-09 09:21

THEY'RE BLACK CABS, REALLY... Australia has fallen so deeply in love with London's black cabs that they're being painted white and shipped Down Under in their hundreds. Image: AFP


They might be white but they're really reall London 'black taxis' and Australian cabbies have fallen in love with them. May 'The Knowledge' be with them...

PERTH, Western Australia - The iconic London 'black cab' is to hit the streets of Perth, Western Australia... but not until they're given a paint job.

They will be made white to cope with the Antipodean heat.

A shipment of 98 TX4 units has been unloaded in Perth for a four-year trial, the first of 200 heading Down Under, The London Taxi Company said. "They're white, which is probably better in a hot climate, but they are also specifically hot-climate vehicles. They have different ventilation to make sure they don't overheat."


The taxis sent to Perth are all ex-demonstration models so thanks to a publicly funded package the city's cabbies will have their normal weekly licence fee waived for the first four years of running them - meaning they will recoup almost the full cost of their taxi - if they take up a TX4.

"The response has been phenomenal," said Evan Simeon, who heads the company's Aistralian operations. "One Perth operator who bought a fleet of 50 used white TX4 units has already had a stampede of drivers who want to be the first to buy a cab and take part in the trial.

"Especially gratifying are the offers from ex-pat (immigrant) London taxi drivers who not only want to buy one but also have offered their services to train our Australian drivers on everything from servicing to vehicle operation."

The automaker was rescued from administration earlier in 2013 by Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely. The company has two plants: one in Coventry in central England for the British market and one in Shanghai for worldwide sales.

The Perth cabs were shipped from the Chinese commercial hub.


Simeon said a new and intensive driver-training course would be implemented in Perth similar to "The Knowledge" -- the method London cab drivers use to remember every street in the city and work out routes between them without referring to a map or satnav.

Matthew Cheyne, international sales director for The London Taxi Company, explained "It is integral to the entire proposition - a TX4 is nothing without a professional driver behind the wheel."

The firm says its vehicles are the only cars in the world designed specifically for use as cabs. They have a 7.6m turning circle and retain much of their original 1948 design. Instantly identifiable London taxis operate in 60 countries, among them Germany, Bahrain, Kosovo and Lebanon.

There are 1000 purple units in Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia has 400 on order - 200 black and 200 in an assortment of colours.

Read more on:    perth  |  australia

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