A fleet of London black cabs has arrived in Australia as the company behind the retro-styled runabouts seeks to take a slice of the local taxi market.
The white-painted TX4 vehicles arrived at Fremantle port over the weekend on a boat from China where they are produced by Shanghai-based Geely – the new owner of the previously cash-strapped London Taxi Company.
The “hot-condition” cabs, equipped with stronger air conditioning units and larger batteries, radiators and alternators, will be trialled in a number of states over the coming months as the manufacturer aims to convince local authorities, operators and drivers of the cabs’ benefits.
London Taxi Company CEO Evan Simeon told AAP his company was in negotiations with the states ahead of the launch of the trial program.
“We will do our due diligence, and so will the states, and hopefully these taxis will be out on the road somewhere soon,” Simeon said.
He says the TX4’s purpose-built design made it better suited to the task than Australia’s traditional sedan-based taxis.
“When you have a look at the majority of taxis, they are converted sedans which were not built to be cabs and so are not fit for the purpose.”
The ‘hot-condition’ cabs were successfully deployed in the Middle East several years ago.
The Victorian Government’s 2012 review into the taxi industry suggested the London black cabs “should be allowed to operate in the Victorian fleet”, and recommended “more flexibility be incorporated into the federal and state standards to allow these vehicles to be used”.