White London cabs are about to hit Perth streets as part of a four-year trial to improve the security, standards and availability of the city's taxis.
West Australian Transport Minister Troy Buswell said 50 London cabs, made by Chinese-owned Geely Group, have been made available to any taxi driver who would like to participate in the trial, and would receive subsidies to buy the costly taxis.
Mr Buswell said the Department of Transport is in talks with a second manufacturer and a decision on the remaining 50 trial vehicles would be made in the near future.
The roomy vehicles can carry five passengers and have a safety screen to protect drivers, and will be an alternative to the converted sedans currently used in Perth.
Air conditioning will be added to cope with the city's hot climate.
Evan Simeon, chief executive of London Taxi Company, which imports the vehicles, said earlier this month the firm was in negotiations with various states to see where the cabs would be trialled.
"These cabs are synonymous with the taxi industry internationally and my advice is that Perth will be the first Australian capital that has made a significant effort to attract them onto our streets," Mr Buswell told reporters on Thursday.
"It's got all of these benefits that people often talk about: great passenger comfort, they carry five people, easier access for people with mobility challenges, driver security screens."
Mr Buswell expects the cabs will prove very popular.
He said government lease plates would usually cost up to $13,000 but the "vast majority" would be waived for the London cabs.
"A peppercorn rental, for want of a better term."
In return, the drivers will provide feedback to the government and be involved in customer surveying.