Can I buy a used black cab, do you know? I'd seriously buy one and have it imported and I'd be willing to pay pretty well for it. I'd almost certainly have to get it antique in order to register the thing as I refuse to own a trailer queen. I absolutely adore them but I've only been in one twice and, I must say, it was a number of years ago but the service was exact and perfect. I had no idea what the street was where I was (either time) and I simply flagged down a passing cab and told him my hotel name. He didn't ask any additional information but was very polite - including vast stores of cultural knowledge (or so it appeared to me).
It was pristine, in a way, and something I truly appreciate. I've since watched a documentary about their testing process (The Knowledge or something akin to that) and saw why he was as good as he was. This experience was repeated twice, I've only needed the service twice, but was impeccable. I can neither complain about the price, the service, or the server.
The vehicle was awesome. The second trip was interesting, we were on a small side street (I had been to a pub in what used to be a 'gin house' I understand) and not far from that old, round, theater that had something or other to do with Shakespeare. Anyhow, he did a U-Turn in the street while it looked to be much too small to do so. We're talking Moog style, or Subaru style, turning radii here. That was where I noticed how tight the suspension was and how well the vehicle must be maintained because it didn't appear to be new but was still in very good repair and was extremely well kept.
I didn't have much time (or think to) ask much about it but I did notice how well the vehicle appeared to be maintained and I can imagine that they see a lot of fairly rough usage.
What would be awesome is if you got a *something* if you manage to stump the driver (within reason). I seriously think those guys could compete with an optimized GPS and have the added benefit of not losing the signal when around tall buildings. However, if you stump the driver then you should get a t-shirt or something. Or a free fare. If such were the case then I'd do my best and try this out the next time I get the chance to visit. I'd take multiple rides just to see if I could stump the driver. I've not been back in nearly 15 years, that might almost be enough to make it a definite choice for an overseas adventure.
Anyhow, I'm not generally inclined to protect any sort of business and this really isn't the group targeting Uber or anything so it doesn't really apply, but it would be a shame to lose this service and rich history. I do hope they continue to remain in business and that the turmoil doesn't affect them. I don't know if they're even allowed to use a GPS? They certainly did not when I was able to use their services and that was part of the experience and charm.