Menu
Share
Share this story
Close X
 
Switch to Desktop Site

Twilight of London's black cab?

(Read article summary)
View video

Ben Quinn

(Read caption) A TX1 taxi idles behind a Mercedes ‘people carrier.’

View photo

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Aside from London’s ubiquitous red double-decker buses, little else is more evocative of the city’s streetscape than the fleets of black cabs.

About these ads

But increasingly, the familiar image of the traditional workhorse taxi is being eroded by the rising popularity, among drivers, of Mercedes “people carriers.”

“They’re just better all-around vehicles,” admits Peter Shand, a cabby with nearly 40 years of experience.

Nevertheless, he has yet to switch from a traditional TX1 taxi, with its distinctive front grille and round headlights, to one of the German-made alternatives, known as “Vitos,” whose doors slide shut with muted Teutonic efficiency.

“It’s nice to see that there is another tool on the market,” Mr. Shand says, “but at the end of the day I’m a traditionalist, and London just wouldn’t be London without the old-fashioned black cabs.”

Related:


Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.