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TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Black cab fleet owner shares insights on purchasing used taxis

Updated: Feb 21


A black cab fleet owner has revealed secrets is to what cabbies should be looking for when they search to buy a used taxi to work in.


In a revealing piece for TAXI Newspaper, a seasoned black cab fleet owner offered valuable advice to taxi drivers on the lookout for a used cab for their work. With years of experience in the industry, the owner emphasises the wisdom of opting for newer models to avoid the pitfalls associated with older, extensively used vehicles.

The fleet owner notes that older taxis, having changed hands between multiple owners, may have been subject to various makeshift repairs and modifications. From chassis cracks concealed with filler and paint to the removal of bulbs from dashboard displays to hide warning lights, these vehicles could be harbouring "a multitude of sins" beneath an appealing exterior.


A significant point raised concerns the market value of older cabs, which often hinges on the remaining years available to be licensed. Traditionally, each plate has been valued at approximately £3,000, a figure that has held steady in recent years.


The mystery fleet owner wrote in TAXI Newspaper: “With all of this in mind, older cabs tend to trade on their plate value, so much for each plate left on the cab. For the last few years, this was always about £3,000 per plate, certainly for the last two years. Just recently, I have seen Euro V cabs with less than three years left being offered for quite astounding sums. I am told this is because they will be converted to Euro VI, once the conversion is approved. Even presuming that’s right, the cost of the conversion needs to be factored in. We don’t know what it will be yet, but call it £10,000 by the time the VAT and everything is included. This means it would be cheaper to buy a late Euro VI to start with, not have the hassle of a conversion, and have a newer cab.

“These prices just do not make sense. My advice would be to do the maths, look at what your total outlay is going to be and factor in the real condition of any cab before investing £10,000 into a conversion.


“You need to think about the following when assessing a cab's condition: What’s the bodywork like? How much rust does it have? What are the seats, headlining, floor coverings all like? All the stuff that wears out and is not cheap to fix and make the cab unpleasant to drive. Ask yourself has it got to be changed before the cab comes off its last plate?“


In essence, the fleet owner's guidance serves as a cautionary tale for taxi drivers in the market for a used cab. By scrutinising the vehicle's condition and considering the long-term financial implications of their purchase, drivers should be able to make informed decisions on their investment.

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