New disability proposals hail need for taxi rethink

Clare Dowdy gets the low down on London Taxis International’s new accessible cab design

The appearance of city streets is set for a change with the introduction of two taxis. Manufacturers London Taxis International and Asquith have both been working on new cab designs to conform to proposed changes in the Disability Discrimination Act.

Transport minister Glenda Jackson says the regulations “will require that, in future, all newly licensed taxis will have to provide full access to disabled people, including those needing to travel in a wheelchair”. The proposals come into force next century.

LTI’s TX1 makes its first public appearance at the Motor Show and will be rolled out at the rate of 72 a week.

The new design had input from Pentagram’s Kenneth Grange, Rover’s ex-head of styling Gordon Sked and Geoff Matthews, managing director of Geoff Matthews Design (DW 10 October).

The Coventry manufacturer had been working on a face-lift for the existing Fairway cab before the new disability regulations were mooted. It then changed tack to design a completely new vehicle which would meet with the changes in the regulations, says LTI industrial designer Paul Morrow.

Meanwhile, the third biggest taxi manufacturer Asquith, which makes the vintage-style cab, has put a new design by Riley & Reay on hold. Production is a year away, says Chris Humberstone, who is responsible for the taxi’s development at Asquith.

The Motor Show is at London’s Earls Court until 26 October.

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