The world’s longest-ever taxi ride

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The next time you’re bemoaning the cost of a taxi fare home, imagine how much it would be if you were taking it from London to Sydney.

That’s exactly what three people did a few years ago and from that dreamed up the slightly hair-brained scheme of actually taking an old London taxi cab all the way to Australia, raising money for charity along the way to the value of how much such a taxi ride would actually cost.

Departing on 11 February this year, ‘It’s on the Meter’ is an attempt on the world record for the longest-ever taxi journey. The aim is to raise the cost of the £20,345 fare for the British Red Cross. Covering over 30,000 miles, the trip will take in 37 countries and take over eight months to complete.

The plan started during a long (and expensive) taxi journey home a few years ago for three friends – Leigh Purnell, Johno Ellison and Paul Archer. The three have been planning the trip ever since.

Crossing Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, China, South Asia and Australia, they will cross 36 boarders and ten time zones, battling against freezing temperatures in the Baltic and searing heat in the Sahara.

Along the way, they will pick up fares including VIPs, journalists, temporary team members and, of course, locals who seem like they could use a lift! The idea is to keep the expedition as pure an adventure as possible with no support vehicles, relying the on the team’s ingenuity and negotiation skills to achieve the distance.

The taxi that they will use is a humble 1992 LTI 2.7-litre diesel London Black Cab (FX4) with over 100,000 miles already on the clock, which they purchased for £1500 on eBay in 2009.

The ‘It’s on the Meter’ team will be touring the UK in their taxi prior to the expedition setting off and are naturally keen to raise awareness about their £20,000 fundraising target for the Red Cross, so look out for them coming to a town near you.

The project is being supported by various sponsors and organisations, including Performance Direct Insurance’s ‘Non-Standard Awards’ – an innovative scheme which provides finance for those seeking to realise their motoring dreams.

I didn’t know such a thing existed but it’s got me thinking about what my motoring dream would be…

Anyway, good luck to the team and I, for one, will follow their exploits with interest. One thought occurred to me though. With the cost of fuel rising all the time, will the cost of the fare have gone up by the time they complete the journey in eight months?