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THE TRADE QUESTION: Do more taxi drivers wash their own cabs or do they pay to have it washed?

Updated: May 8, 2023



The cold snap has brought out the gritters and with that it’s also caked our taxis in thick filthy dirt... but who’s cleaning those cabs?


We asked the UK taxi industry community whether it’s cabbies who take to the bucket and sponge, or whether it’s someone else who lathers up and gets those wheels sparkling.

Interestingly around two thirds of cabbies pay to have their vehicle cleaned on the outside, whilst the remaining third sweat it out scrubbing it themselves.


Cab driver Andrew Riley set the tone by saying: “I pay to have it done. Just do a extra job to cover the cost. Not worth the hassle or the time.”


Nathan Fligg responded: “Take it to the hand wash people. One, because I can’t be bothered and two, because it gives someone a job.

“It’s the same as people saying they’d always walk home instead of paying for a taxi. If everyone did that or drove themselves we’d be in trouble.”


Others taking a back seat to washing their own cab like to see it as helping to keep someone in a job. The costs are also seen as marginal given they are deducted as an expense, therefore free from tax.

Recently, taxi drivers and members of the public were urged to be cautious of hand car washing firms charging under £9 for an exterior clean and requesting cash only. The Responsible Car Wash Scheme (RCWS), which was founded to promote compliance and raise standards in the car wash industry, warned drivers to be cautious of hand car washes that provide workers with non-payment of the national living wage and breach health and safety rules.


Whilst many drivers chose to find a hand car wash for the exterior of the taxi, more drivers kept the interior squeaky clean themselves.

For those cleaning the exterior of their cabs on a regular basis themselves, they can save a significant amount over the course of a year. Drivers currently spending on average £15 a week getting their vehicle spruced up fork out over £700 each year on the service.


London cabbie Geoff Whitehouse said: “Wash it myself, water only most of the time. Why pay someone else when all you’re going to do is watch them do what you could’ve done?”

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