Perth trial for Chinese London-style cabs

Gareth Parker

Fifty London-style taxis will hit the streets of Perth from late next month under a four-year trial of the five-seater vehicles.

The State Government will effectively waive the annual taxi plate lease fee, worth up to $13,000, to operators of the taxis for the trial.

In return, operators and drivers will provide information to the Government about customer response and the feasibility of the Chinese-made taxis, some of which sell new in Britain for $60,000 - much more than the average Ford Falcon that dominates the WA fleet.

Expressions of interest will be called from conventional taxi-plate owners at the weekend and the Government plans to make another 50 plates available later.

The taxis will be dispatched by Black and White Cabs, which has about 10 per cent of the Perth market share compared with 90 per cent of the dominant Swan Taxis.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the London-style taxis were "synonymous" with the industry worldwide and Perth was the first Australian capital city to try them.

"It's got all of these benefits that people often talk about - great passenger comfort, they carry five people, easier access for people with mobility challenges, driver security screens," Mr Buswell said.