THE famous London cabs will ply the roads of Shanghai next month but will be painted in the eye-catching gold color instead of the black color they are well-known for.
Qiangsheng Taxi Co said the change in color suited the city better.
The flag-down fare will be 19 yuan (US$3.09) — 5 yuan more than the regular taxis — for the first 3 kilometers, but the higher fare has yet to be approved by the city’s transport authority. The fare for each kilometer after the initial charge will be 2.6 yuan — 0.2 yuan more than the others.
Geely’s 200 China-made TX4 taxis are in the final stages of production and the Chinese automaker released pictures of the vehicles yesterday.
They are the same model as the London black taxis and is therefore known here as “London cabs.” Geely, which also owns Volvo, took over Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH), makers of the original London’s Black Cab, in 2013.
Qiangsheng, Shanghai’s largest taxi company, said the first batch of 50 London cabs will hit the roads as early as the National Day holiday. The cabs are spacious and is primarily aimed at providing service to the elderly and disabled customers. They will have accessibility fittings and will take bookings through their dispatch systems.
“The gold color is more attractive, and can easily differentiate the cabs from other taxis,” said Zhou Wenhua, operating manager of Qiangsheng.
The new taxis will have two fixed seats facing two foldable seats at the back. There is no seat next to the driver, with the space instead left for luggage.
A ramp is fitted to make it easier to get a wheelchair onto the vehicle. Qiangsheng said it will equip the cabs with drivers with good records. They will also undergo special trainings.
“They look spacious and grand,” said a regular taxi user Wang Yujie.
“It will likely compete against the Touran World Expo taxis, but the fare may be a factor,” he said.