The thought of London without black cabs horrifies me, I adore them, they are quintessentially London, I would use the “I” word but then I’d be no better than Boris. Anyone living in or visiting London who wants to fully experience our public transport must ride the Tube, go on the top deck of a red bus and slide onto the sumptuously upholstered seats of a black cab.
There is nothing more welcome on a cold, wet night at 4am when the party’s over, you’re dog tired and can think of nothing but your bed or the club has closed, the bouncers have herded everyone onto the streets and you’ve met someone who can think of nothing but your bed than to spy that familiar amber light approaching. And there is something reassuring about the distinctive chug of the diesel engine, sometimes when the streets are deserted you hear a taxi before you see it and you feel a surge of hope that your return home has just got that much closer.
Not that there won’t be cabs, Nissan has produced a taxi version of their NV200 4-door van but it just looks like a people carrier painted black with a “taxi” light on top. It will have a smaller, more efficient engine which is good for emissions but it just won’t sound right and next year they will trial an electric version which will have hardly any sound at all. Not only is London set to get these charmless, characterless hulks but New York is set to have them too, painted yellow obviously.
So jump in a TX1, TX2, TX4 or if you are lucky enough to find one, a FX4 while you can, time is running out. Though not the square, angular Metrocab, the one that looks like a Citroën 2CV’s big brother, it never had the panache of its well-rounded colleagues.
Am I missing something? I had to cancel my trip to see Morrissey in Pittsburgh because my friend’s mother is ill. Now Morrissey has cancelled the Pittsburgh show and four others because his mother is ill. I saw my mother yesterday and she was fine.