Vintage vehicle society on lookout for rare 1980s taxi used once used as city bus An FX4 London-style taxi.
TRANSPORT enthusiasts are searching for any surviving vehicles from a batch of London-style taxis once used as buses in Lincoln.
Members of Lincolnshire Vintage Vehicle Society are looking for any of Lincoln City Transport’s FX4 vehicles, which were operated under the LIMO name in the 1980s.
The 20 taxis operated as frequent services, doing pick-ups on demand along five bus routes to and from Lincoln bus station.
Two more were introduced in 1987 to carry disabled passengers on contract to the City of Lincoln Council.
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Chairman Steve Milner said the operation of buses this small was quite rare and one would make an interesting exhibit at the Lincolnshire Road Transport Museum, in North Hykeham.
He said: “We are fairly confident there aren’t any out there, but you never know.
“They were off-white in colour with three bands of different shades of green along the side and the city transport name.
“They were a hail and ride sort of thing.
“You paid a premium to use them and they operated in North Carlton, North Hykeham, Birchwood, Brant Road and Glebe Park.
“The idea was that they were quicker as you wouldn’t pull up at every stop along the way.
“But just like buses, you wouldn’t be the only passenger.”
The LIMOs proved useful to see off competition but even with drivers on lower wages than standard they were too small to pay their way and they were withdrawn in early 1989.
“This was also post deregulation and in a way Lincoln City Transport was competing against itself,” said Mr Milner.
“I think some of them eventually ended up in Boston and went to auction.”
Lincoln City Transport was sold to RoadCar, which itself was taken over by Stagecoach.
Bus passenger Ken Barnett, 87, a retired engineering worker, said one of the LIMOs would make an interesting showpiece at the museum.
Mr Barnett, of Eastbrook Road, Lincoln, said: “There is always an alternative way of getting around, but it all boils down to money.
“In Australia, out in the wilds, the postman picks up passengers.
“I think the whole transport system needs a rethink and things need to tie in with each other better.”
The Austin FX4, the archetypal black cab, was produced from 1958 to 1997. The private hire version, the FL2, came minus the front mounted taxi sign and was also used as a courtesy car by hotels.
It was also bought as a private car by people including the Duke of Edinburgh and Stephen Fry.
Saturday, November 06, 2010, 07