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Could changing to REAR DOOR wheelchair access taxis save cabbies money and speed up emission goals

Image credit: John Heath (LinkedIn)

It has been suggested that the taxi industry could reach emission goals faster and have more vehicle models to choose from, if changes were made to a long-standing policy based on the wheelchair access points on a cab.

All licensed taxis in London must be Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs). Many other cities across the UK also use purpose-built taxi models like the LEVC TX and LTC TX4, which allows disabled people kerbside ramp access via the rear passenger side doors.

An employee from taxi vehicle manufacturers Dynamo Motors however suggested that more vehicles would be available if cities like London adopted rear door ramp access.

Changes to the standard size of rank spaces would be required to allow for the ramp to be deployed at the rear of the vehicle rather than the side. Several more ‘donor’ models could then be considered for conversions into black cabs like the popular Nissan Dynamo Taxi.

Graeme James, Dynamo Motor Company Business & Product Advocate, said via LinkedIn: “When I joined Dynamo Motor Company I very quickly had to get up to speed with Transport for London and the conditions of fitness for a London Black Cab.

“One of the conditions is that a ramp for wheelchair access is offered at the nearside passenger door.

“However, in an independent government study the 'reference' wheelchair only covers 54% of all mobility aid users.

“Nearside wheelchair access does offer a safe passage from the kerb side or pavement but physical vehicle size restrictions limit access. With a very simple amendment to ranks, painting approved sized parking bays and drop kerbs, we could open up rear access and accommodate a much greater volume of passengers.

“If rear access wheelchair accessible vehicles were granted approval by TfL to be a London Black Cab then we already have fully electric solutions available that could offer transport for a much greater percentage of mobility aid users and reduce emissions further within the trade.

“The solutions are simple and quick to implement if someone is willing to lead the change.”

Dynamo Motors recently released details of a new Peugeot E-Traveller, which has been specially designed for private hire vehicle (PHV) operators and local authority use. The vehicle has a WAV ramp built into the rear of the large converted black van and can seat between five and seven people along with the wheelchair.

It is the second WAV model to be offered to the PHV sector following an earlier converted Mercedes-Benz.

Taxi drivers in London and across the UK are eagerly awaiting news of the next Dynamo taxi to arrive on the market. Long-term, the all-electric Nissan Dynamo taxi will no longer be produced as Nissan cease production of e- NV200 Evalia van.


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