Updated: Mar 19
The General Secretary of London's United Cabbies Group, Trevor Merralls, has called on the government to consider using the capital's taxi drivers to assist with frontline transport during the Coronavirus outbreak.
With work levels at an all-time low and many of London's most vulnerable unable to travel around, Mr Merrall is urging taxi drivers be utilised to help NHS and social care staff with a specialist door to door service during such an unprecedented time.
In an open letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Department of Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP, Mr Merralls wrote:
"I am writing to you as the General Secretary of the United Cabbies Group on behalf of our members to ask you to give serious consideration to the way in which London Taxis can be effectively utilised as part of the range of measures the Government propose to implement for Covid-19.
"As referenced in the Coronavirus Bill temporary legislation which focuses on dealing with easing of the burden on frontline NHS and adult social care staff London’s longest serving public transport provider, London Taxis, are still operating and can provide a fully inclusive and accessible door to door service which can be utilised to act and support the emergency services to deliver people, medicine and other necessities.
"Some of the proposed changes as referenced in the Coronavirus Bill temporary legislation focus on dealing with easing the burden on frontline NHS and adult social care staff, and some support people and communities in taking care of themselves, their families and loved ones, and their wider community.
"Similar to the Royal Mail’s position, the London Taxi Trade is well positioned in view of our purpose built vehicle where the partition can be clinically sealed, our unique training and enhanced vetting to support essential public services, provide a link to deliveries to the elderly, vulnerable and those self-isolating in and around London is this unprecedented crisis.
"Sanitisation is being carried out by drivers to ensure a safe clean environment for the travelling public and with a significant downturn in workload due to the Government’s advice on self-isolation and social distancing, are uniquely placed to play our role and Londoner’s where we can.
"As you will appreciate the Government advice to travel only if necessary, alongside the decision by the Prime Minister yesterday which resulted in the closure of theatres and other key hospitality venues has had a significant impact on our members who now face an unprecedented drop in demand and ultimately income."
London cabbies not only know the capital like the back of their hands, they also drive one of the safest vehicles to travel in during such an outbreak, with a concealed passenger compartment.
This could well be the perfect partnership to keep London moving during a period when the vulnerable are in need of help the most.
Image credit: Mark Twyman/UCG