London taxis take over Sydney

Hop in: London taxi driver Fatih Aydogan. Picture: Chris Lane
Hop in: London taxi driver Fatih Aydogan. Picture: Chris Lane

If you’ve spotted London taxis around Campbelltown or Denham Court, you’re not imagining them.

Within a few months, there are already 50 of the iconic, black, shiny cars on Sydney roads.

The cars are owned and imported by GM Cabs and can be exclusively booked through the mobile app Rydo.

But not only do they look more posh than your average taxi, there’s a reason why they’re in high demand – according to Rydo, they have more space, more security and more class.

The taxis were purpose-built with five passenger seats and extra room for luggage. 

“They also drive well and Rydo are known to offer polite and professional drivers – we even wear a uniform. I’ve had very positive feedback,” London taxi driver Fatih Aydogan said.

He said London taxis have brought status back to professional drivers.

“I’d only been a taxi driver for a few days when I saw a London taxi parked at the airport. The chief executive of Rydo was there next to the car,” he said.

“At that stage there was only one other London taxi driver on the road and after having a chat he offered me the opportunity to drive one on the spot. I thought about it overnight, but really it was a no-brainer so I decided to go for it. I’d never drive a regular taxi again.”

Mr Aydogan said at first people assumed London taxis cost more, but after finding out it was the same price as the average taxi, Rydo found lots of customers.

“I often work in the city area and airport but demand is increasing in the south-west, particularly Campbelltown and Denham Court. I also get a lot of requests for weddings and corporate hire,” he said.

“They’ve become a symbol and I hear a lot of stories from people who’ve visited or lived in England.”

Chief executive and creator of Rydo, Nickolas Mikhael, said when he came up with the idea for the app, his career took an unexpected turn.

“Before Rydo I was working in a pharmacy. I may be the new guy on the block but I was raised in the taxi industry. This is a family business – my father owns GM Cabs and we were able to build a foundation on that,” Mr Mikhael said.

“The biggest reason for Rydo was to bring new technology to the old taxi industry. What attracted us to the London cabs were the safety features, such as intercom, cameras and security screens.

“We offer a better car and better service with 24/7 customer support. There are no booking fees, just download the app and pay standard taxi rates.”

Mr Mikhael, 29, plans to extend the business.

“I’m planning to get 100 more London taxis by the end of the year,” he said. I’m also looking to bring them to Melbourne. The biggest obstacle right now is the regulations.”