Ads on London Cabs Feature U.S. Vacations

London taxi cabs have taken to sporting advertisements on their doors and hoods for American cities and tourist destinations.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


London taxis used to be stolid, reliable and somber-shaded black. Nowadays, London cabs are blooming. More than a quarter of London's 25,000 taxis have been painted with bright advertisements, many of them for American tourist spots, including Las Vegas, Memphis, and the Great Lakes.

A number of the cabbies have been schooled to give a spiel at the wheel, too, about the place their cab has been painted to promote. Drivers are never going to keep their mouths shut. That's what London cabbies do, says the general manager of Taxi Media Advertising, we capitalize on that.

Now, some government regulators have expressed concern that letting the driver used that 15 minutes he'll have a passenger in the cab for sales pitch infringes on the passenger's right to silence. But so far, they say they've received no complaints.

With the dollar just about half as valuable as the pound these days, more Britons are flying over to scoop up bargains like clothing, shoes, iPods and, of course, U.S. banks.

Coming up, our book critic on wheels, London cabbie Will Grozier tells us what he's reading between stops in his commercial-free taxi.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.