London's iconic black cabs to make Paris debut
Black cabs are to go on sale in Paris as part of the newly named London Taxi Company's gradual expansion onto the international market.
Since instigating a joint venture with the Chinese car maker Geely, Manganese Bronze Holdings – the Coventry based engineering firm which operates the London Taxi Company – has begun supplying the iconic cabs to markets as far afield as Beirut and Bahrain.
Now London's finest appear to be bound for the French capital. According to the Telegraph the Parisian cabbies are particularly interested in the taxi's special access ramp and the added security of the built in partition between the passengers and driver.
Of course the cab is only one part of the exemplary service offered by London's hackney carriages. Aspiring taxi drivers must a test called 'the knowledge' to prove their firsthand experience of the capital's roads. The French training programme isn't nearly so rigorous.
"It's true that there is a great deal of progress to be made both in terms of knowledge of the streets and taking into accounts the customer's wishes," said Elisabeth Young, head of EMG, the company which is importing the cabs.
Apparently there are plans to introduce an assessment similar to the Public Carriage Office's formidable test, but it won't be in place until sometime in 2011.
Paris's black cabs will be built at one of Geely's plants in China. The TX4 models currently start at £29,200 (33,900 euros).