Transport firm, CityFleet Networks are using black taxi drivers to provide food and prescription parcel delivery services to London’s most vulnerable shielded groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The delivery service commenced earlier this month on 3 April with CityFleet, and is managed by London Dial-a-Ride on behalf of Transport for London (TfL). It is thought that the capital has approximately 1.5million people, identified by London’s Boroughs, as vulnerable and requiring shielding.
London Dial-a-Ride provide CityFleet Networks with details of the hub from which the food/prescription parcels and volunteers need to be collected from and the number and location of drop offs.
CityFleet Networks then source the required number of taxi drivers and provide them with full details to collect and deliver the items.
Once all the parcels have been collected and delivered to the shielded group, without any physical contact being made, the volunteers are returned to the hub.
Licensed black taxis were chosen by local Boroughs as a result of the partition screen separating the driver in the front of the cab from the volunteer and food/prescription parcels in the rear of the cab. The Government’s social distancing guidelines are therefore maintained throughout the journey.
This is a free service provided to the capital’s shielded group which is being paid for by the London Boroughs and TfL.
CityFleet Networks also look after the Taxicard contract, which is a scheme that provides subsidised door to door journeys in licensed taxis and private hire vehicles for London residents who have serious mobility or visual impairments.
CityFleet supply taxis to service the Taxicard scheme via ComCab as well as supplementing the taxi fleet with private hire vehicles.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis the Taxicard service now includes a collection and delivery service with the first Borough agreeing to this change of service on 28 March. 29 of the 33 London Boroughs have since given their approval for the service with the remainder expected to give their approval imminently. This change was made to allow:
Drivers to pick up and deliver essential supplies and;
Friends and family to travel on Taxicard users behalf using Taxicard for the same purpose.
The change provides flexibility for Taxicard users to continue to use subsidised trips during times where they may not be able to travel in line with government guidelines.
Alan McDonald, CityFleet Account Manager for both London Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard, said: “It has never been more important than in the current climate that CityFleet continues to work closely with Service Managers for both London Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard to ensure that these vulnerable customer groups are able to receive a service and the items that they would ordinarily be able to access directly.”
“CityFleet Networks are working hard as group during the pandemic to become pillars of strength and to continue to keep London moving following the governments guidelines.”