Traditional black cabs are an icon, let’s not lose them in the quest to go green
We lost the Routemaster bus, lets not lose the classic black cab too - says Sean Carson
Nissan launched the NV200 London black cab today, a vehicle it hopes will replace the classic black cabs that have come to define London for many people. Sean Carson thinks we risk chucking the baby out with the bath water...
The London 2012 Olympic Games is in full flow and Team GB is thriving. But we have to pay our dues to the city that’s hosting the awesome event.
London is a wonderfully diverse city steeped in history, culture and tradition, and with Britain's capital doing such a great job of showcasing what the country has to offer, the last thing we need is to lose an icon: the classic black cab.
Nissan has today launched what it hopes will usurp the famous silhouette of the Hackney Carriage on London’s roads.
"The new Nissan is based on a boring light van"
The Japanese manufacturer claims its new private hire vehicle is 50% more fuel efficient than the average black cab – a noble effort indeed, but wind and solar power are massively more efficient than our current fossil fuel-generated energy and we’re not seeing a sea change in the uptake of sustainably produced power.
Why? Because it requires a massive amount of spending to implement it. The same would be true for the new Nissan cabbie arrangement.
This is not meant to offend anyone – least of all taxi drivers – but it’s not the most lucrative career in the world, driving a black cab. (I repeat, that’s not meant to offend anyone.)
So introducing a new model at great expense – and more than likely following legislation that outlaws the use of ‘dirty’ cabs, potentially taxing them off the road – is not going to be advantageous towards ease of transport in the bustling first city. It’ll potentially see cab numbers dwindle.
"the black cab is a sight so familiar it’s part of London’s fabric"
A 50% improvement in efficiency is unlikely to see fuel savings passed on to the customer in terms of rates either, so how is the proposal of introducing the new Nissan cab supposed to benefit the end user?
Then comes the cultural aspect. It might be tenuous, but the Olympics and all its associated London marketing paraphernalia has highlighted the iconic sights of the city. We’re talking Big Ben, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge – even red post boxes – and of course, the black cab.
The new Nissan – probably termed some sort of personal urban mobility solution – is based on a boring light van. OK, so it’s black, but it doesn’t make it a worthy replacement for the LTI vehicle.
It might be a London-centric view (I don’t actually live in the capital) but the black cab is a sight so familiar it’s part of London’s fabric.
We were deprived of the Routemaster, lets not let it happen again.
Follow Sean Carson on Twitter @Carson_on_cars
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Nissan unveils new NV200 black cab
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