Mercedes Benz Vito Taxi
In August 2008 a variant of the Mercedes Vito was approved by the Public Carriage Office for use as a licensed
London 'black cab'. The Vito taxicab includes sliding doors, electric steps and seating for six people. The Vito's
rear-wheel steering enables it to meet the PCO's strict 25 ft (7.6 m) turning circle rule and it is able to carry
two wheelchairs. The vehicle, a variation of the 'Traveliner' model, will be produced by EcoCity under licence from
Mercedes-Benz, and distributed through its KPM-UK Taxis subsidiary.
All of these vehicles have to conform to the conditions of fitness as set out by the PCO (Public Carriage
The Public Carriage Office (PCO)
Public Carriage Office
The Public Carriage Office (PCO) is the body responsible for licensing taxicabs within Greater London. The PCO is
part of Transport for London and is responsible for licensing the familiar London taxicab or "black cab" and also
licenses private hire or minicab services. Since 30 March 2007 the actual processing of licences has been
outsourced to a private company called SGS.
PCO licence plate, as seen on the back of all licensed hackney carriages (September 2006)Since 1600 public
carriages for hire have been a feature of London life. The discarded coaches of aristocratic families, complete
with their coat of arms, were among the first hackney carriages to ply for hire. They were the forerunners of the
French hackney carriage or cab (cabriolet) which first appeared in London around 1820.