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Via Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

I find it hard to imagine any wheelchair user who wouldn’t be interested in reading this from the Disability Horizons website: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

Extracted from the full piece, link above, written by Londoner Toby Mildon, who uses a power wheelchair, and has tried out one of London’s new electric black cabs:

Using black cabs in London has just got a whole lot better with the introduction of the new environmentally-friendly electric taxis, which replace the existing TX model. Being a bit of a geek, ever since I heard that a new sleek London taxi was arriving onto our streets, I was dying to take a ride …

Outside my office, Martin, my electric cab driver, had the ramp ready for me. The first thing I noticed was how sturdy it looked. I have found that with some of the current TX taxis the ramp bends under the weight of my wheelchair, despite me and my wheelchair being average weight.

The ramp in the new taxi, however, is sandwiched in between the floor of the taxi, and can be ‘rolled’ out and slid away in seconds. This is amazing, particularly in the rain, and much better than the heavy manual ramps in the Mercedes Vito 6 seater taxi, which take ages to assemble.

The amount of headroom entering the taxi is generous, and there is much more space inside to turn my wheelchair around so I can travel forwards or backwards. In the current TX taxi, I have to travel sideways, which can be nauseating and painful on my neck if the driver has to break suddenly. The new electric taxi has a much simpler set of restraining belts to hold my wheelchair in place.

Not only do the new electric taxis have better accessibility features for wheelchair users, but is a better ride for passengers in general. There’s a lot more legroom inside, can carry six people, has USB charging points for your phone and even a regular plug for your laptop, plus touch-sensitive heating/cooling controls, which are also good for people with manual dexterity problems …

Other accessibility features include high-visibility handles – which are longer than normal, so useful for manual wheelchair users – swivel seats for easy access and getting out, a hearing loop on the intercom system and a built-in step to help you get into the door …

The most impressive feature in the new electric taxi is the panoramic glass roof.

When I travel in the current TX taxi, my eye line is with the top of the door and all I can see is London’s pavements and the ground floor of most buildings. Most of the interesting things to be found in London are when you look upwards! With the new electric taxi, I saw parts of London that I have never seen before. Looking to the top of buildings and on a lovely spring day when the sun was shining into the car was a great experience.

The new taxi really does turn heads. It is a beautiful design and contoured body. I cannot wait to take the electric taxi to work again. In my opinion, it’s a lot more accessible than the current models on the road and the panoramic roof makes the journey so much more enjoyable. There are not many electric taxis on the road. However, this is set to change over the next few months as the Mayor of London is encouraging electric taxis to clean up our polluted city air …

Reading this, and despite all my previous horrendous experiences with London black cabs, I’m thinking it’s maybe time to try the new black cabs … it would be really good to feel like there is an easy alternative in case of a private vehicle malfunction … that’s a peace of mind that hasn’t been available for me to date.

Watch this space … 😉

Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

Disability Horizons: How accessible are the new electric black cabs in London?

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