Well right of the bat I'm gonna warn you that I'll probably pi$$ you off, but my experience with taxi companies is that they are extremely frugal (read cheap) and I see the word "inexpensive" in your post so I will just take it at face value.
That being said, if all you want to do is update your radio fleet to comply with the new narrow-band update then any radio you can buy new these days will fit the bill. They will all be narrow compliant. The deadline has expired first of the year to run the old wide radios and if you have not done it yet I would get my FCC license modified for the new narrow-band emission pronto because if it's not the FCC is in the process of canceling all the wide-band only licenses if it already has not done so.
For good value in radios, you could look at Kenwood, Icom, Vertex or any number of off brand manufacturers. You just need to have them programmed as the old radios with the exception of the new narrow channel requirement.
Your radios now prevent communications between drivers. Only dispatch is heard and the drivers can only respond to dispatch. This is accomplished with a split frequency channel and works OK, but I know some savvy drivers with their own scanners that circumvent this and eavesdrop on what's being said.
I upgraded a local taxi company due to the problem you're facing and convinced them to replace all the old out-of-date radios with new Kenwood Nexedge digital radios. They now do not need the split frequency to provide privacy, it is done on a single frequency with a digital function called "private conversation". This is how it works. Sitting idle, when the dispatch make a call it goes out as "group" and all drivers hear the call. When a driver answers, the base and the taxi automatically go into "private conversation". Now all other mobiles are excluded and they cannot hear dispatch or the other mobile. This continues until the conversation quits and a timer expires allowing the dispatch to revert back to "group" call. Now if a cab calls in to dispatch, "private conversation" starts immediately as long as dispatch answers before the timer expires (the mobile is what triggers private and I think the reset timer for dispatch is set for seven seconds). Seems to work well for them and the drivers who used scanners have been *****ing like crazy because no-one can monitor them now.
Radios we used were Kenwood TK-700s and run in the $650 to $700 range. Being digital, they squeeze every drop out of their coverage range and sound good (considering it's digital and takes getting used to). Run it by the boss and see if he falls outta his chair!
Last edited by ramal121; 01-14-2013 at 10:17 PM..