When it comes to assembling your taxi fleet, you need to think long and hard about what cars are best for the service that you aim to provide.
If you plan on offering executive travel, for example, a Toyota Prius might not match with customer expectations who’ll probably want to sit in something with a touch more luxury. Conversely, if you’re planning to be the cheapest taxi company in your area, you probably don’t want to be investing in too many top-of-the-range Mercedes cars, which can be expensive to run and insure.
In this guide to the best cars to buy for your taxi fleet, we’ll cover everything from how to narrow your search for an appropriate vehicle to where to go for taxi fleet insurance cover.
Prior to scoping out the car market, you need to ask the local authority where you’ll be operating for any specifications that they stipulate for vehicles that will be used as taxis. Typically, they will specify on engine size and seat width, but it varies from authority to authority.
Some borough and city councils have quite detailed specifications for hackney or public hire taxis. Known as ‘conditions of fitness’, these regulations often call for vehicles to be wheelchair accessible and may require additional features such as a safety partition or bulkhead.
The last thing you want is to go out and purchase your vehicles, only to find that they don’t meet local regulations. So, be clear on what vehicles are permitted and double-check the specifications before signing on the dotted line.
When it comes to refining your taxi search, alongside any local regulations, here are some other things to consider:
It goes without saying that you want every car in your taxi fleet to be reliable and not prone to maintenance issues. If you’re constantly having to put your car into the garage for repairs, you’ll be losing money hand over fist – in both repair costs and loss of trade.
The level of comfort your car needs to possess depends on the level of service you’re looking to provide. While nobody wants an uncomfortable journey, you could probably get away with a more basic level of comfort if your fare price is low (in comparison to your competitors).
A fuel-efficient fleet is something that every taxi company owner should aim for, no matter which end of the market they’re intending to operate in. The more miles per gallon your vehicles do, the more money in your pocket.
As well as being fuel efficient, you also want a fleet of cars that are low on CO2 emissions. Road vehicle taxation is now linked to a car’s CO2 output – so the lower your emissions, the less you will pay in tax. If your emissions are too high, you might not be able to operate in some low emission zones, especially in London where they’ve announced a new Ultra Low Emissions Zone.
Finally, you also want to think about the cost of insuring the vehicles you buy or lease. Of course, you want to keep your taxi fleet insurance premiums as low as possible – but you need to weigh that up against your level of service. In other words, it might not always be the right choice to go for the cheapest cars on the market.
There are lots of cars on the market that would make good taxis. But the right ones for your taxi fleet depend on what’s important to your business. If you’re going to sell your service on its comfort, you might want to opt for cars that have some nice added extras such as climate control, which would allow passengers to set a comfortable temperature inside the car.
Here are some cars for your consideration, based on the qualities above:
The Prius is fast becoming one of the most popular taxis in the world. That popularity is largely down to its hybrid engine, which promises incredible fuel efficiency and low CO2 emissions. For that reason, the Prius makes the ideal taxi vehicle for congested city centres.
The Mercedes E-Class is the best-selling taxi of all time globally, with drivers loving the comfort and space it affords to passengers. As you might expect from a Mercedes, it’s packed with high-tech features that help to make journeys run more smoothly.
The Skoda Octavia is a big hit with the taxi drivers in the UK who often work long hours and want a car that is guaranteed to start every time they turn the ignition. An economical diesel engine means that you can get hundreds of thousands of miles out of an Octavia and barely have anything go wrong with it.
If you’re looking to keep your taxi fleet insurance premiums down to a minimum, Hyundai's stylish, spacious supermini-sized hatchback could be the taxi for you. Although it’s classed as a hatchback, the i20 is available with three and five doors and plenty of rear legroom and boot space (326 litres).
Superb by name, superb by nature, this Skoda is arguably the taxi at the top of the rankings. Think the Octavia but with a greater level of comfort, passenger space and luggage capacity. It’s also a nice car to drive, which is very important when you (or your drivers) are going to spend so long in it.
Once you’ve weighed all the different options available and chosen the cars that will make up your taxi fleet, it’s time to pick get some taxi fleet insurance.
Taxi fleet insurance is available to fleets of three or more vehicles. It doesn’t matter if you have a fleet of black cabs, minicabs, minibuses, or a mix of vehicles – The Taxi Insurer can help you find a policy that matches all your needs and covers all of the vehicles in your fleet, for a price that fits.
With only one policy to remember to renew each year, you can put all your effort into making your taxi business a success. Get a no-obligation taxi fleet insurance quote today.