Smart idea from Kevin
PUBLISHED: 14:49 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010
ENTERPRISING cabbie Kevin McCarthy has launched a drive to put a fleet of Smart car taxis on the streets of Ely and Cambridge. The two-seater cars - a favourite with former British Racing Champion, Stirling Moss - would carry just one passenger and help t
ENTERPRISING cabbie Kevin McCarthy has launched a drive to put a fleet of Smart car taxis on the streets of Ely and Cambridge.
The two-seater cars - a favourite with former British Racing Champion, Stirling Moss - would carry just one passenger and help to protect the environment.
Kevin, 46, of New Barns Avenue, Ely, who runs PDQ Taxis, has a plan to put five Smart car taxis in Ely and 50 in Cambridge in the next three years.
His plan could lead to the first fleet in Europe and offer an alternative to the taxi bikes running in many major cities.
Yesterday (Wednesday) he asked East Cambridgeshire District Council to alter its hackney carriage rules to allow him to licence the Smart car for taxi runs.
But council officers claim this would leave them £1,000 out of pocket introducing a separate meter charge for single passenger vehicles and advertising the changes.
They also fear the cars, which have 698cc engines and can travel up to 70 miles on a gallon of petrol, would exclude couples, families and the disabled and not everyone would be happy sitting so close to the driver.
"There is certainly a market for these cars where people just want to get from A to B," said Mr McCarthy.
"Around 80 per cent of my journeys involve carrying a single fare-paying passenger. This represents a poor use of resources for the standard four-door saloon, inefficient use of fossil fuels producing greenhouse gases and greater than necessary wear and tear on our roads.
"I want to do my bit for the environment and launch this on my doorstep. I can see it being big in places like Tokyo, Rome, Milan and Los Angeles.
"The Government has already said it wants people to use these cars to cut gas emissions."
The cars, which have the engine in the back and offer more than 10 cubic feet of interior space, require just group one or two insurance.
With a maximum speed of 84mph and easy access for the disabled recognised by the Mobility Scheme, they have such low carbon emissions the German Government has made them exempt from road tax.
But council officers are not convinced and have advised members of their licensing committee to throw out the plan on Wednesday.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think the idea is a sound one. Should East Cambs District Council have a rethink?
Write to: The Ely Standard (Smart idea?) 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email the editor at: debbie.davies@ archant.co.uk