Hackney conversions and how to do them right.
From time to time people ask about our minibus conversions—how we convert a standard minibus to a hackney vehicle suitable for the rank and with full wheelchair access.
Let’s take the example of our VW Transporter hackney taxi, a vehicle that’s proving very popular with drivers tired with the ‘me-too’ vehicles you see in every town and city.
Setting the scene
A good conversion requires a deep understanding of the base vehicle and of the trade requirements and of course regulations. Our mechanics and installers are well-trained and specialise solely on taxi work.
When a vehicle arrives with us from the manufacturer it is first stripped down. We remove the seats, floor, all the trim, panels and roof lining. We then have a shell to work with.
Skillful conversion to a hackney cab
The Taxi Shop’s Josh Rhynas explains how a bus is transformed for hackney work:
“A new reinforced frame is installed to house an underfloor ramp which is fabricated from scratch. A composite, crash-tested floor is then fitted over the frame, which is adapted to then carry tracking to house the rear row of seats.
"Next, floor-level lighting is wired in, a specially-designed bulkhead is fitted and flip-down seats mounted together with a polycarbonate screen.
"More original interior trim is adapted, by hand, to house the grab handles, intercom and lighting switches. It must fit perfectly around the newly-installed conversion parts ensuring the finish is to a high standard.”
The myths about hackney vehicles
It’s not necessary to add further strengthening to the chassis on a hackney vehicle. The VW Transporter is a well-established in the taxi trade as a reliable workhorse; everyone knows how unstoppable they are, that’s why they breed a sort of obsession amongst their owners. Josh Rhynas again:
“We’ve had many a VW Transporter come back to us in part exchange, vehicles that have done well over 350K to 400K miles. The engine clearly needs no special modification for taxi work. The door hinges on the Transporters we've had in were still perfectly operational, even after 400K miles as a taxi.
"VW Transporters have the best residual value on the market of any comparable vehicle, plus a track record of a long working life even at high mileage, it’s why people love them.”