Sydney Taxi T4514 - 3 years of running

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by AussieOwner, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    I have just hit a couple of milestones, and felt that it is about time that I wrote up my experiences with my Gen III that I have been operating here in Sydney.

    The car has just hit 3 years of operations, and just over 200,000 kilometres of running.

    When I purchased the car, I set a couple of rules for myself:
    1. Leave the power on in all cases, especially when standing at a rank.
    2. Leave the windows up at all times, even when standing at a rank.

    Those rules had been followed most of the time. There have been a few occasions where I have left the window down at a rank, but generally when the outside temperature has been around the same as my climate control setting, or slightly lower. I have been lucky in that the radio system used by my network has a little handset that tells you when you are being offered a radio job and which you can hold outside the car. At most ranks you can see each of the drivers holding their handsets while they are killing time waiting. This has meant that I can easily leave the windows up, even at the rank.

    Temps here in Sydney vary from 40 Celsius down to about 8 Celsius, with the average temp around 18 during the day in winter and around 28 during the day in summer. When it is a warm day, my passengers have all commented that it is nice to get into a cool cab, and in winter, they like it that the car is warm.

    The rules mean that on a slow day, my fuel consumption increases, but I have considered this a minor cost. To date, my average fuel consumption is 4.95 litres per 100 km. When compared with other cabs, we have looked at the cost of fuel - I am averaging $7.50 per 100 km. Camry hybrids are costing their drivers about $10-$12 per 100 km and the old Fords, running on LPG, are about $18-$20 per 100 km (LPG is a lot cheaper than fuel for the Fords).

    I am the only driver for my taxi, and I only drive 5 days a week. This is why my kilometres are low - the average mileage for a Sydney taxi is 175,000 km per year. The profile for my operations is a lot of 60 kph travel, up and down hills - the area around home is along an escarpment, so you spend a lot of time running up the hills and then running down. One regular local trip will generally take my battery from 2 bars to fully charged just by running up the hill and back down - our customers don't want to climb up the hill after doing their shopping, and there are no direct bus routes for most of them. Good for us as the fares are generally around $12 per trip and only take 10 minutes. I do, however, also spend a fair bit of time in the city (downtown for the North American readers) where travel is often more likely to be an average of 10 kph, although it can get up to 40 kph if you are lucky.

    I have had the car serviced every 10,000 kms, as per the manual. I had this done by the dealer until 150,000 km when all warranty ceased, and have since had a local taxi mechanic do the maintenance. My mechanic also runs a number of Camry hybrids, so is getting to be quite knowledgeable with hybrid operations.

    To date, I have replaced the tyres three times - at 54,000, at 124,000 and at 190,000. I have not, as yet, had to replace the brake pads. Everyone in the network is watching to see when I will replace the pads, as the average replacement period for the Fords is every 20,000 kms.

    I did encounter a problem with the brakes just after the brake fluid change at 160,000 km which resulted in getting a new master cylinder (according to the dealer) but have had no other mechanical problems.

    I have had two minor accidents - the first was a low speed hit from the side on the front mudguard that resulted in me needing to replace the front bumper and one headlight unit, and the second was a truck running into the back of my car, resulting in replacement of the back bumper and the hatch door, plus some straightening of the rear frame.

    For most of the 3 years, I have been the only Prius in the network, but, about 6 months ago, another owner bought a V, so now there are two of us. He loves the car, and wishes he had changed over a lot earlier, although he may be not so happy when I tell him about the battery stories I have been reading.
     
  2. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    I wouldn't worry about the battery stories - yes this is me saying that :)

    The replacement cost is nowhere near what it used to be. The UK Toyota site indicates they're about £800 (presumably with fitting on top);

    Hybrid Cars FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions | Toyota UK

    "It is extremely unlikely that a battery will need replacing. In the unlikely event that the hybrid battery does need to be replaced and the warranty has expired, the cost is approximately £800. An annual Hybrid Health Check at a Toyota Dealer is the best way to ensure you are safeguarding the health of your vehicle for years to come."

    £800/US$1,245/AU$1,526

    The UK also gives unlimited mileage warranty upto 11 years IF you have the car serviced at Toyota (100k miles/5 years otherwise).

    So even if the battery goes pop after 200k km, it's still no worse than a clutch in a manual or a diesel particle filter or a Fords rear subframe repair. Do the Aussie Ford taxis have that issue too?
     
  3. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Thanks for the service update!

    @GrumpyCabbie that does sound close to what I've seen quoted recently in the US for a new battery - US$1,150. I don't know if fitting is on top of that but it certainly doesn't include taxes.
     
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  4. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    The main issue with Aussie Fords are the differential - normally need to be replaced every 150,000 km at a cost of AU$850 plus labour, and gear box every 2 years at a cost of AU$1,200 plus labour. A Ford will also generally need a new motor sometime during its 6 years of operations. NSW law only allows cars to be used as taxis for 6 years from build date.

    From a general maintenance viewpoint, I am way ahead of costs when compared with a Ford.
     
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  5. clayton4115

    clayton4115 Junior Member

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    enjoyed reading your article Aussieowner, I too have a hybrid, but the camry, love the car, however I am thinking of getting the Prius, want more boot space as the camry hybrid's biggest disappointment is the boot!

    can you please tell me if an adult mountain bike 26" mountain bike will fit in the back with the passenger seats down, (without having to take off the front wheel of the bike)?
     
  6. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    Clayton,

    You must have the early Camry hybrid. The 2012 and later models have a huge boot (trunk for the North Americans). There are a number of Camry hybrids now running in the network, and the 2012 certainly has more space in the boot when compared with the Prius with back seats up - we were comparing the scenario of 4 passengers to the airport.

    I have loaded a full sized bike into the car twice - once with the bike all folded up - in a transport case as the customer was heading overseas with the bike - he could not get it into any sedan taxi, and was surprised that I could take it - he had not seen a wagon prior to hailing me. The other, we had to take the front wheel off to get it into the car. I am sure that there are others who can make better comment on fitting bikes into the Prius.
     
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  7. s@muel

    [email protected] Junior Member

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    G'day Sydney T4514

    Greetings from Singapore,

    Had my gen III since october 2014,
    still on it's first set of tyre,
    done about 30,000km,
    averaging 400km per day, 3 drivers.

    i hope the GoodYear tyre can last another 20K !

    looking forward to you updates.

    Rgds,
    Sam

    ps.
    to view pix , pls add wxx.flickr.cxx to --> /photos/[email protected]/15582834454/
    :)
     
  8. clayton4115

    clayton4115 Junior Member

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    Hi Aussieowner

    Yes I have the 2010 Camry Hybrid, boot is very small, so are you saying the newer camry hybrid has a bigger boot capacity than the current generation Prius?
     
  9. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    No, it has a bigger boot than the previous generation Camry Hybrid. It's rated at 421 litres for the new Camry Hybrid. The Prius is rated at 445L.
     
  10. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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  11. Avi's Advanced Automotive

    Avi's Advanced Automotive Independent hybrid repair shop

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    The US price is more than twice that.
     
  12. Agent J

    Agent J Hypoliterian

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    Aussieowner, are you the one i'm seeing regularly in the northern beaches area? :)
     
  13. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    Most likely as I was the only Prius hatch in the Manly Warringah network for most of the last 3 years. There is now a Prius V also in the network, but still only two of us.
     
  14. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    Welcome to Prius Chat, Sam.

    I am averaging 270 km per day - just me driving - but we have a lot more distance to cover - the Sydney metropolitan area is bigger than all of Singapore (150 km north/south, and 90 km east/west).

    I am running Bridgestone Ecopia tyres. Was happy with the results of the first set, so have stayed with them.
     
  15. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    Surprising. It certainly looks as though it can fit more in. But on second thoughts, I do not use the area under the floor for my customers - I keep all my cleaning and maintenance stuff in there so it is all out of sight for the customers. If I took the false floor out, I would certainly have more room for luggage.
     
  16. Agent J

    Agent J Hypoliterian

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    I took the floor board out completely for more space. Made my friends wonder how i can fit in lots of band equipment in the boot and rear passengers' seats.

    When i went to South Australia and Tasmania, gen2 prii and Vs were like mushrooms. they're everywhere there now and probably other states as well. i'm wondering why it didn't catch on in Sydney.
     
  17. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    I like the underfloor bin. It keeps the cargo area free of clutter. I too keep the essentials underneath --> first aid kit, emergency blanket, shovel and snow brush (off season. In the winter, it's up on the cargo floor for easier access).
     
  18. clayton4115

    clayton4115 Junior Member

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    ok so the current prius has a bigger boot than the 2010 and 2014 Camry Hybrids?
     
  19. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Which is very important for a taxi.
     
  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    By the numbers, yes.

    But even in practicality, the sloping hatch allows you to stand luggage upright, which is a bit difficult to do in the Camry (unless it's a smaller carry-on luggage).

    Here, most of the taxis are split between the Prius and Prius v. The Camry Hybrid was favoured, especially with the bigger boot of the latest generation but once the Prius v was launched, it rapidly overtook the Camry as the favoured vehicle for taxi duty because of its cargo capacity (>50% more than the Prius liftback). In other cities where the airport is located in the outskirts (e.g. 10-20 mins outside of city limits), I notice that latest generation Camry Hybrids are favoured because of their extra power for passing and merging.
     
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