Occasionally, we’re forced to endure the torture that is public transport. It’s rarely a nice experience, not least because you can’t help feeling you’d have been better off driving. No matter how far you need to travel or how impractical a car might be for a given journey, you’d always prefer to be behind the wheel of your own car and not surrounded by people you don’t like.
Of course, the horror of public transport can be made slightly more pleasurable by upgrading to a higher class of travel. Take the train, for example. Upgrade to a first class ticket and you’re treated to a leather seat that resembles one you would have found in an early 90s Vauxhall Senator, along with a slice of fruit cake, a cup of coffee and a newspaper. It’s all rather nice.
It’s the same when travelling by aircraft. The difference between flying cattle class and better class is overwhelming. One is cramped, unpleasant, irritating and terrible. The other is relaxing, charming and glamorous.
In both cases, it will inevitably be more expensive to travel in style, but there’s a real sense of getting what you paid for. So PetrolBlog was wondering, why can’t the same system be rolled out for the nation’s taxi cabs?
This week, in an attempt to raise the profile of the forthcoming Pure Rally “supercar rally for party loving petrolheads”, a PR company launched “London’s first Lamborghini taxi”. We know this, because the PR company emailed to tell us.
Of course, we’re not really into supercars and – since most parties don’t involve either driving, talking about cars, watching re-runs of Deals on Wheels, searching eBay for old motors or tweeting pictures of cars – we don’t consider ourselves to be party lovers either. But actually, a Lamborghini Gallardo taxi may not be quite the one-off, slightly quirky, publicity stunt it first appears.
Here’s the thing. You need a cab, you call a cab company. You may request a certain number of seats, but it’s rare that you’d ask for a particular make or model of car. Which is strange, because as PetrolBlog readers, we’re quite particular about our choice of cars.
What if you were given a choice between a common or garden Passat TDI or a Passat W8 Estate, with the rare-as-you-like six-speed manual gearbox? You’d naturally opt for the W8 and pay a premium for the privilege. Not only would you get to ride in one of the best Q-cars of all time, you could also quiz the driver on the relative merits of owning and running a W8.
You’d also gladly pay extra for a Citroën C6 to rock up outside your gaff, before wafting you off for a night on the tiles. Or a Cadillac Seville STS, so you can take advantage of the heated rear seats and revel in the American splendour of the heavily depreciating 4.6-litre V8 monster.
Would sir like to travel to the station in a Volkswagen Passat S 2.0 TDI or a Volkswagen Phaeton V6 long wheelbase? For a PetrolBlog reader, this is a rhetorical question. And you’d happily pay the extra premium required to offset the investment the taxi operator has ploughed into the big Dub.
It’s impossible to see how this could fail on any level. The taxi driver gets a better car. The taxi passenger gets a better journey. The town in which the taxi operates gets a better image. And because everyone is enjoying a better class of car, there would be an end to road rage.
There’s also the John Lewis delivery truck effect. Put it this way, you can either order a TV from Argos or John Lewis. What delivery truck is going to look better outside your house? Precisely. And it’s the same when a taxi comes to collect you for your night on the tiles. And nobody is going to be sick in the back of a Phaeton. It just isn’t the done thing.
So PetrolBlog fully endorses Pure Rally’s Lamborghini London taxi. The system has genuine potential. Our mind is cast back to a trip to Stockholm, where one enlightened cab operator was running a mint and very gold Citroën DS taxi. If you were in one of Europe’s great cities and were greeted by the sight of a DS at the back of a queue of Toyota Avensis cabs on the rank, you’re going to wait for the big Citroën, right?
Apparently a young lady called Imogen Thomas was the first person to be taken out in the Gallardo. We had absolutely no idea who she was, so we did a quick Google image search. Now we know a whole lot more about her…
Images © Pure Rally.