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CityFleet Networks, which operates private hire and taxi businesses in London and a number of other UK cities, is using its ComCab London taxi drivers to deliver food and prescription parcels to vulnerable people during the Covid-19 lockdown.

This initiative, set up by each borough in London, identifies the 1.5m most vulnerable people living in London, which are described as “the shielded group”.

CityFleet started delivering food and prescription parcels to the shielded group on April 3. The service and is managed by London Dial-a-Ride on behalf of Transport for London. This is a free service which is being paid for by the London Boroughs and TfL.

London Dial-a-Ride provides CityFleet Networks with details of the hub from which the parcels and volunteers need to be collected, and the number and location of drop offs.

CityFleet Networks sources the required number of taxi drivers and provides them with details and addresses of where to collect and deliver the items.

The drivers collect the food parcels – and the volunteers that are delivering them – from the hub. As the service uses ComCab’s fleet of 2,500 black cabs, there is a partition that separates the driver from the volunteer and the food or prescription parcels in the rear, which means social distancing guidelines are observed.

Once all the parcels have been delivered to the shielded group without any physical contact being made, the volunteers are returned to the hub.

CityFleet Networks also looks after the Taxicard contract, a scheme that provides subsidised door to door journeys in licensed taxis and private hire vehicles for London residents who have serious mobility or visual impairments.

CityFleet supplies taxis to service the Taxicard scheme via ComCab as well as supplementing the taxi fleet with private hire vehicles.

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Taxicard operation now includes a collection and delivery service, and 29 of the 33 London Boroughs have so far given their approval for the service extension. The other boroughs are expected to fall in line.

The extension allows drivers to pick up and deliver essential supplies, and allow friends and family to travel on a Taxicard user’s behalf using Taxicard for the same purpose.

The change provides flexibility for Taxicard users to continue to use subsidised trips during times where they may not be able to travel in line with government guidelines.

Alan McDonald, CityFleet account manager for both London Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard, said: “It has never been more important than in the current climate that CityFleet continues to work closely with service managers for both London Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard to ensure that these vulnerable customer groups are able to receive a service and the items that they would ordinarily be able to access directly.”

The CityFleet Networks group which includes ComCab London, ComCab Aberdeen, ComCab Liverpool, Comfort Executive and Argyle Satellite. All are supporting the NHS, key workers, clinics and the vulnerable during the pandemic.