New York has its yellow cabs and London its black ones – both have become symbols for the cities the world over. Now Paris plans to have a colour for its licensed taxis too: black.
In the city of chic, that may seem a little dull. However, the colour choice is led largely by pragmatism – most French taxis are already black, so there would be no cost implication for cash-strapped cabbies.
The proposal is the brainchild of socialist MP Thomas Thévenoud, who has been tasked with ending the feud between France’s licensed taxis and its mini-cabs.
Taxi drivers are angry that almost anyone can set themselves up as a mini-cab driver, while they have to spend large sums of money on training, licences and cars. Some put this figure at a whopping €150,000.
So it’s easy to see why they might not appreciate the free-for-all competition from unlicensed mini-cabs.
If adopted, the proposals would help both to modernise licensed taxis and better regulate mini-cabs. They would also mean that taxis would have to accept credit cards and would charge a flat rate for airport runs. Mini-cabs, meanwhile, would have to be inspected every six months and their drivers would have to undergo training.
From a customer’s point of view, a fair price and a driver with some people skills is all we ask for – whatever the colour of the vehicle you’re in.