Advertising Standards set to approach Pedal Me following black taxi COVID distancing claims

Image credit: London Taxi PR

Pedicab firm Pedal Me, are set to be contacted by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following alleged false claims made about black taxi COVID-19 distancing capabilities.

Ben Knowles, CEO and Founder of Pedal Me, said via a blog post in May: “It is not possible for us to distance by 2 metres on our bikes – as it isn’t on public transport, or in taxi or private hire vehicles.”

London taxi driver representatives, United Cabbies Group (UCG), complained to ASA highlighting the 2 metre plus gap capable between taxi drivers and passengers riding in black cabs. All 19,000 taxis in the capital also come with purpose built partition screens, contactless payment options, wheelchair accessible facilities and easy clean design.

According to sources at ASA, the UCG believes comments about taxis being unable to follow social distancing guidelines were ‘misleading’.

The advertising regulator has indicated that the claims made in the post are likely to be in breach of ASA rules. An ASA spokesperson said they are now currently in the “process of contacting Pedal Me“ so that they make necessary amendments to the blog article.

A spokesperson from UCG said via social media: “Thank you to Advertising Standards Association UK for upholding our complaint against a recent Pedal Me blog usual inaccurate information regarding Taxis and social distancing.

“Advice on how to ensure their advertising complies with the Codes will ensure this is not repeated.”

Ben Knowles, Pedal Me CEO and Rider, has since spoke to TaxiPoint saying: “In general we’ve always been keen supporters of the taxi trade and looked to learn from the positive impacts the taxi trade has had traditionally - allowing those from a range of backgrounds to find good honest work. The KOL is certainly an impressive thing - and we’re keen to employ former taxi drivers because of their unique skills.

“Regarding our blog - we feel that being outside is being shown to be considerably safer than outside space from the point of view of avoiding covid, and took the view that we have one of the most covid-safe ways of travelling on offer. We stand by those comments. We’ve not heard from the ASA but are happy to discuss with them if they think there’s an issue.”

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