Yesterday, the Parliamentary Taxi & Private Hire Awards announced this year’s winners in a ceremony hosted by their founder Daniel Zeichner MP.
The annual awards celebrate those taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers who make a big difference in their communities by going ‘above and beyond’ for the public.
The Awards were launched in 2019 by Mr Zeichner, in his capacity as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis, to bring the industry together to celebrate drivers and inspire passengers.
This year’s winners, recognised for their significant contribution to their communities, were:
Mohamed Ewasha (FREENOW Award) – at 74 years ‘young’, Mohamed is commended for his inspiring fundraising efforts, having run the London Marathon and various half-marathons to raise funds for different charities, including Independent Age.
Matt Westfall (Charity Award) – Matt used his 11 years of driving experience as a London cabbie to take essentials to people living in makeshift camps on the Ukrainian border with Poland before taking some of them on to safe places. He recruited the drivers of six other cabs, one car and a van to join his cause, raising more than £11,000 to fund their efforts.
Kareen Ismail (Climate & Sustainability Award) – Kareen invested a substantial amount of money in an electric taxi and continues to raise awareness of the need for battery-powered cabs and PHVs in London.
Simon Davies (Hero Award) – Simon is recognised for having made several trips by car to Ukraine in the past 12 months in order to deliver aid to those in need, as well as engaging in a great deal of fundraising.
Muhammad Delwar Uddin (Community Award) – Muhammad applied to be an NHS volunteer at the start of the pandemic, picking up and delivering prescriptions from the local pharmacy to patients. Three years on, he continues this work. He has made hundreds of trips during this time and plans to continue supporting the NHS.
Richard Holden MP, the Department for Transport (DfT) minister responsible for taxi and PHV policy, delivered a short speech congratulating all 39 drivers nominated by a Parliamentarian or Member of the London Assembly for an award. His Labour shadow - Simon Lightwood MP - then went on to present the winning drivers with their certificates and trophies.
Mariusz Zabrocki, UK General Manager, FREENOW said: “Congratulations to this year’s winners. At FREENOW, we truly believe in supporting drivers and showcasing their key role in society, especially those who make a real difference in people’s lives daily. It is an honour to be involved in these Awards for the fourth year running, and we would like to extend our congratulations to all those involved - not least Daniel - for delivering another outstanding event.”
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “I started these awards four years ago with the goal of highlighting those who go the extra mile in the community to make people’s lives just that little bit easier. Over the years, we have met some incredible people who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in their role to support people both in the UK and abroad. These Awards are all about celebrating the contribution of the UK’s 330,000 taxi and PHV drivers to their local communities - and far beyond them. I would like to congratulate all of this year’s winners and nominees and thank them for their contribution not only to where they live and work but also to the standing and reputation of the industry as a whole.”
As the desire to decrease the number of cars on our roads rises, so does the importance of allowing people to move safely and efficiently. Research from the DfT shows that, on average, people in households without access to a car made more than four times as many taxi or PHV trips than those with access to their own vehicle - and travelled over twice as far.