Title: Which WAVs can I get through Motability?

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Summary: If you’re new to Motability, it’s normal to have a few questions about the scheme. Figuring out whether you’re eligible, what the average Motability car prices are, and what adaptations you’ll need are all important areas that you’ll need to consider.

Meta Title: Motability Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Meta Description: Here at Bristol Street Versa, we have a wide range of wheelchair accessible vehicles available to be leased through the Motability scheme. Click through to find out more about our Motability wheelchair accessible vehicles.

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Which WAVs Can I Get on Motability

 

If you’re new to Motability, it’s normal to have a few questions about the scheme. Figuring out whether you’re eligible, what the average Motability car prices are, and what adaptations you’ll need are all important areas that you’ll need to consider. You’ll also need to consider things like upfront cost, the number of seats you’ll need, and whether the wheelchair user will be driving the vehicle when considering which Motability wheelchair accessible vehicle is right for you.

To help you choose the Motability wheelchair accessible vehicle that’s right for you, we’ve put together a quick guide below.

What vehicles are available through Motability?

When considering a Motability lease, many people think they might be more restricted in the options available to them.

However, the Motability scheme allows for a huge choice of vehicles, and in particular wheelchair accessible vehicles.  All major manufacturers have vehicles available on the scheme, and at Bristol Street Versa you’ll find wheelchair accessible options from big names like Ford, Fiat, Volkswagen, and Renault on show.

How much does a WAV cost through Motability?

All vehicles on the Motability scheme are leased, meaning you pay to use the car over a set period, usually 3 or 5 years. However, you’re free to use the vehicle as you wish during this time, and treat it as you would a vehicle you own.

At Bristol Street Versa, we have a selection of wheelchair accessible vehicles available with an Advance Payment starting from around £1595. After this initial advance payment, the vehicle will be financed for the remainder of its lease period using your allocated allowance. This initial payment and the resulting allowance payments cover the costs of servicing, insurance, tax, and warranty, meaning that you won’t have to worry about these.

Bristol Street Versa: Motability Cars List

We have a variety of wheelchair accessible vehicles available on the Motability scheme through Bristol Street Versa, in different sizes and specifications to suit whatever needs you might have. We’ve chosen to run through just three below, but for a wider selection of the wheelchair accessible vehicles available from Bristol Street Versa head over to our Motability section.

Versa Doblo 1.4

WAVS  - Fiat DobloThe Versa Doblo 1.4 is our own accessible version of the Fiat Doblo, and lies at the smaller end of the wheelchair accessible vehicles we have in stock. With two seats as standard alongside room for a wheelchair passenger, the Versa Doblo is a good option if you don’t require lots of room for extra passengers. However, the Versa Doblo can also be fitted with an option for one or two seats in the rear, allowing for more space. Like all the wheelchair accessible vehicles we have in stock, the Versa Doblo is customisable with a range of vehicle adaptations. The Versa Doblo is one of the most affordable Motability vehicles we have in stock, and is available to lease from just £1595.

Versa Connect Long

WAVS - Versa Connect LongThe Versa Connect Long is a modified version of popular Ford Grand Tourneo Connect, and is an ideal wheelchair accessible vehicle for families who might require a little extra passenger room. The Versa Connect wheelchair accessible vehicle can accommodate a wheelchair user plus 5 additional passengers, or a maximum of 7 passengers without the wheelchair user. Wheelchair users can access the vehicle via a simple ramp, which if upgraded can fold away into the vehicle to create a large storage area. The Versa Connect Long comes with Ford’s Stop and Start technology, which alongside its 65mpg makes it an economical wheelchair accessible vehicle that is affordable to run. At Bristol Street Versa we have both automatic and manual versions of the Versa Connect Long, with the manual version available on Motability with an advance payment of only £4295.

Versa Master LWB

WAVS - Renault Master

The Versa Master is a converted Renault Master van, and one of the roomiest wheelchair accessible vehicles we have available to lease through the Motability scheme. With a longer wheel base, the Versa Master LWB can accommodate the wheelchair user, driver, and up to 7 other passengers. If required, the Versa Master wheelchair accessible vehicle can also be modified to be able to carry a total of 4 wheelchair passengers. The Master LWB is available on Motability from £10,245 advance payment for the manual version, which includes rear heating and air conditioning as standard.

All the vehicles listed are able to receive specialist attachments and alterations, so if you’re interested in a custom wheelchair accessible vehicle, or would like to enquire about the cost of adaptations on the Motability scheme, then we would love to hear from you. Just make an enquiry online, or get in touch with our friendly customer services team. We can’t show you all the vehicles available on Motability, so why not take a look at the full range we have online.

 

 

 

 

Author: Tom

Title: Are Robot Taxis The Future?

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Summary: Just 20 years ago, in car entertainment and electric windows were the pinnacle of consumer auto technology. However, today much of the work going on behind the scenes of the major vehicle manufacturers is more comparable to something straight out of a sci-fi film.

Meta Title: Are Robot Taxis The Future | Robot Cars

Meta Description: A Japanese taxi company has challenged itself to get a fleet of driverless taxi's on the streets by 2020. Could driverless cars really be the future of the taxi industry?

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Are Robot Taxis the Future

Just 20 years ago, in car entertainment and electric windows were the pinnacle of consumer auto technology. However, today much of the work going on behind the scenes of the major vehicle manufacturers is more comparable to something straight out of a sci-fi film.

We’re talking of course about the emerging autonomous vehicle market – or, in layman’s terms, self-driving cars. In the past few years, it seems like the auto industry has been moving closer and closer to bringing out vehicles that edge drivers out of the picture, with everyone from Ford to Google trialling self-driving vehicles.

So far, the majority of talk around the development of self-driving cars has fallen within the consumer area, with most concern looking towards what a market filled with driverless vehicles would mean for the everyday driver. However, as self-driving technology moves closer towards reality, some have looked towards what autonomous “robot” vehicles could mean for public transport, and in particular, the taxi industry.

Most recently, a Japanese company calling itself “Robot Taxi” has set itself the challenge of getting a fleet of self-driving taxis on the streets by the 2020 Olympics. The company says it aims to provide a “revolutionary and affordable transportation alternative” to current taxis, and looks to work with the government and local authorities to make this a reality.

When looking at the wider picture – both in terms of the taxi industry, and self-driving tech – Robot Taxi’s goals seem quite optimistic for a couple of reasons. Firstly, very few of the current leaders in self-driving technology estimate that they’ll have a fully autonomous car for sale by 2020. Whilst Ford, Tesla, Google, and more have estimated they’ll have partly autonomous vehicles for sale by 2020, the closest is perhaps Jaguar, who plotted out 2024 as the year they’ll release a car requiring zero human input. Secondly, Japan’s cities are some of the best served by taxis in the developed world, with Tokyo having around four times as many private hire vehicles on the streets as New York. With an uncertainty that the necessary technology will be ready, a thriving industry to compete with, not to mention a shady legal status to contend with, the chances of robots completely replacing humans by 2020 seem fairly slim.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that driverless taxis don’t stand a chance. Perhaps more feasibly, Robot Taxi has suggested that one of the main functions of its self-driving fleet could be to provide a “more convenient transportation option to non-drivers and those who have limited access to public transport”. A promotional video released by the company gives the example of people living in rural settlements, who due to public transport limitations no longer have an effective system of buses and taxis to rely on.

It’s perhaps these rural areas that would benefit most from driverless vehicles, and also be more open to the new technology. For the established taxi industry, isolated or rural areas present less of a business opportunity when compared to larger settlements. In these locations, demand is likely to be smaller, less frequent, and more sporadic than in the city, meaning that drivers who could serve these areas may in fact migrate to more built-up areas to work, leaving a gap for a driverless fleet to fill. As well as this, it’s highly unlikely that any government would allow self-driving vehicles to be released into heavily populated cities immediately. However, less populous rural areas present a lower risk environment for driverless taxis to be tested and trialled, and as such it would make sense for them to be initially rolled out in these areas.

With all this in mind, a future with “robot taxis” could be more complex than you might initially assume. Rather than representing a threat to a hundreds of years old profession, self-driving taxis could instead work in tandem to the established industry. Whereas traditional manned vehicles would carry on their trade in cities and urban hubs, driverless vehicles would realise their potential as service providers in areas where the established industry doesn’t operate. In essence, taxi drivers needn’t worry about losing their job to a robot any time soon.

You can’t buy a driverless taxi just yet, so why not do the next best thing and look at the taxis for sale we have online today

Author: Tom

Title: Iconic Car of the Month: Land Rover Defender

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Summary: In 1947, Maurice Wilks and his brother Spencer took a stroll on the beach to discuss their ideas for a new car, one that had all the benefits of a tractor but could also function on the roads, all while appealing to a worldwide market. After 2 million cars sold, the grandfather of off-road motoring has finally been retired, presumably to sit and relive its glory days, watching all the countless 4x4s it has inspired grow up.

Meta Title: Land Rover Defender | Iconic Cars | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: With Land Rover Defender finally settling down into retirement, we've taken a look at what exactly makes this paragon of British engineering so iconic.

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land rover defender

In 1947, Maurice Wilks and his brother Spencer took a stroll on the beach to discuss their ideas for a new car, one that had all the benefits of a tractor but could also function on the roads, all while appealing to a worldwide market. They traced a shape in the damp sand; a boxy, angular 4×4 that is now instantly recognisable the world over as the iconic Land Rover Defender. It has been 67 years since the grandfather of 4x4s first rumbled off the production line, and the Defender’s history is a rich, mud splattered tapestry.

The blocky design is a product of the times in which the car originated. Post Second World War, materials were thin on the ground, which meant Rover had to make the most of what was to hand. Early Defenders were almost exclusively green, due to the excess of army paint left over, and were made from aluminium alloy (and still to this day), as its use in aircraft design meant it was a readily available material. 2 million have been made to date, with an estimated 75% still functioning on the roads today. A testament to the ruggedness of their production is that the first Land Rover ever built, HUE 166 (known to friends as Huey), is still chugging along to this day, 7 decades later.

For the entire duration of their production, Defenders have always been made in the same factory in Solihull, England, but the 4×4 has never been the type to idle quietly at home. Defenders have explored all four corners of the globe, and have been used in every profession including adventuring, farming, life-guarding, rescuing, exploring, as well as in military campaigns.

Land Rover Cenrtre Steer

Their abilities have been tested innumerable times, perhaps never more than during Land Rover’s entry into the Camel Trophy every year between 1980 and 1999. The Camel Trophy was a world spanning, mud plugging, 4×4 murdering event pitting the hardiest cars against the most furiously inhospitable environments possible – and the Defender dominated. Land Rover tricked out its fleet of Defenders to give them the edge, including modified fog lights, roll cages, winches, and their distinct ‘Sandglow’ colour.

The car’s diversity is demonstrated by its eclectic range of owners, which includes The Queen, Winston Churchill, Paul McCartney, Sean Connery, Oprah Winfrey and Robin Williams. Oh, and let’s not forget old Fidel Castro, whose garage contains a bullet riddled Series I, from his revolutionary days. Would the revolt in Cuba have succeeded if its leaders were ferried around in weaponised Fiat Puntos? We’ll leave that for you to decide.

Over the year, the Defender has undergone several transformations, both to keep up with the competition and to accommodate its growing number of fans. Increasingly, it wasn’t just landed gentry and rosy cheeked farmers who revered the Defender, it was everyday drivers. 30 years or so after the first Landys emerged, new iterations included luxuries such as a few engine options, some leather seating, and a bit of carpet here and there. Beneath it all, though, remains the same old classic; the handsome, hardy steed of the adventurous-at-heart the world over.

Land Rover Defender

As of January the 29th 2016, the grandfather of off-road motoring has been retired, presumably to sit and relive its glory days, watching all the countless 4x4s it has inspired grow up. After 2 million cars sold, the reins have been handed over to the Range Rover and Freelander. Fear not though, intrepid adventure –seekers, as if the durability of Defenders to date is anything to judge by, we’ll be seeing them churning through fields, forest, desert and tundra for decades to come.

Author: Dan

Title: Am I Eligible For Motability?

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Summary: Since being launched in 1977, the Motability scheme has helped thousands of people improve their quality of life by giving them low cost access to vehicles. Funded by charities and the government, with Motability disabled people can receive a car with modifications that allow for ease of access.

Meta Title: Am I Eligible For Motability

Meta Description: Wondering if you are eligible to access a car through the Motability scheme? Take a look at our Motability FAQs list, and find out all you need to know about Motability and Motabiity cars.

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Am I Eligible for Motability

Since being launched in 1977, the Motability scheme has helped thousands of people improve their quality of life by giving them low cost access to vehicles. Funded by charities and the government, with Motability disabled people can receive a car with modifications that allow for ease of access. This way, people who may not have previously been able to drive, let alone get in a vehicle, can have the same freedoms as the general public.

If you think that the scheme could help you, but are not sure whether you’re eligible for Motability, we’ve put a guide together to help. With the information below, you can figure out your eligibility for Motability, and how to get a Motability car.

What allowances do I need to receive?

Eligibility for Motability is primarily assessed based on allowances supplied by the Government. If you receive one or more types of the following four Government allowances, you could be eligible to receive a car on the scheme.

  1. Disability Living Allowance

You’re eligible for Motability if you’re in receipt of the Higher Rate Mobility band of Disability Living Allowance, provided by the Department of Work and Pensions. Currently, this allowance is £57.45 a week, which can then be used to fund a Motability vehicle. However, in order to receive a vehicle on the scheme, you’ll need to prove that you still have a years’ worth of the allowance remaining to be paid to you.

  1. Personal Independence Payment

Whilst the Disability Living Allowance is still in effect, it is set to be gradually phased out and replaced with something called Personal Independence Payment. Currently this replacement is not in full effect. However, those who are receiving PIP, and are getting the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component – currently £57.45 – will be eligible to lease a vehicle on the Motability scheme.

  1. War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement

Veterans UK provide supplements to those in receipt of pension who were medically discharged from service. If you’re currently receiving a War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement of £64.15 per week, you’ll be eligible for Motability.

  1. Armed Forces Independence Payment

Those injured as a result of active service in the armed forced are eligible to receive Armed Forces Independence Payment, and a mobility payment. The Mobility component of AFIP is £57.45, and if you’re receiving this, you’ll be eligible for Motability.

How long should I have received this allowance?                                                   

When applying for Motability, there is no time limit on how long you’ve received an allowance. Whether you’ve received a mobility allowance for 5 years or 5 months, you may still be eligible for Motability.

However, how long you’ll be receiving the allowance will be taken into account. In order to get a Motability car lease, you’ll need to be receiving any of the above allowances for a minimum of 12 months into the future. If you do not have at least 12 months remaining, you won’t be eligible for Motability.

Is there an age limit on Motability?

Those above the age of 3 and in receipt of any of the above allowances could be eligible to lease a car on Motability. Whilst there is a minimum age required, there is no upper age limit. However, in certain cases individual circumstances may need to be assessed.

I’m unable to drive – am I still eligible?

If you don’t hold a valid UK license, you can still be eligible for Motability. The same applies to those who hold a license, but are no longer able to drive themselves.

To account for those who are unable to drive, when taking out a Motability lease, you’ll be given the option of naming up to 2 drivers; neither of which has to be yourself. A named driver could be member of family, a friend, or a carer.

However, in order to be named as a nominated driver, a person must meet certain requirements.

  • Named Motability drivers must hold a valid driving license. If the license is valid but not UK issued, the driver will need to undergo additional checks to decide eligibility.
  • Motability drivers must not have any previous convictions or disqualifications to legally drive a leased car.
  • Ideally, any nominated drivers should live within 5 miles of the Motability scheme customer’s place of abode. However, this is flexible and suitability can be assessed individually.
  • If naming more than one driver, only one driver can be under 21. This should ideally be someone who lives with the Motability customer. If drivers are under 25, there are restrictions on the type of vehicles able to be leased.

Will my disability influence whether I’m eligible?

When working out the eligibility of scheme members, individual disabilities are not taken into account. All that’s required is that scheme members are receiving one of the stated allowances.

However, if your application has been successful, and you’re eligible for Motability, we can take your individual circumstances into account when helping you choose a vehicle. We have vehicles available to suit a wide range of individual circumstances, and so we’ll be able to help you choose a vehicle that will truly be best for you.

We hope this guide has given you some idea of whether you’re eligible for Motability. If you’re still thinking “can I get a Motability car?”, and would like some professional advice, you can always get in touch with the team at Bristol Street Versa. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will be able to help you decide whether Motability is right for you, and even let you know which wheelchair accessible vehicles we have available that would suit your needs best.

Author: Tom

Title: Surprising Celebrity Cars

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Summary: Thought being a celeb was all about gold Lamborghinis, diamond encrusted hub caps, and chauffeurs? Think again, as our list of surprising celebrity cars reveals a far more modest state of affairs.

Meta Title: Surprising Celebrity Cars | Affordable Celebrity Cars

Meta Description: Check out Bristol Street Motors' list of the most surprising celebrity cars. It's not all Lamborghinis and luxury!

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Thought being a celeb was all about gold Lamborghinis, diamond encrusted hub caps, and chauffeurs? Think again, as our list of surprising celebrity cars reveals a far more modest state of affairs.

 

  1. Jennifer Lawrence – Volkswagen Eos

When most stars are catapulted to from 0 – superstar in 5 seconds, they tend to make the transition badly. Tantrums and wild spending have come to be what we expect when a new young star hits the scene. Not for 25 year old actress Jennifer Lawrence, though. She still rides around Beverly Hills in the same 140bhp, 2.0 litre Volkswagen Eos she’s had for years.

Jennifer-Lawrence-Volkswagen-EOS

  1. Ryan Gosling – Toyota Prius

The Prius is riding a wave of popularity in Hollywood, thanks to its admirably low emissions at 72.4MPG. Whether Hollywood stars are lining up to buy Prius’s in their droves because they are genuinely environmentally conscious, or because they think it’d be good for their public image remains to be seen. Other proud Prius owners are Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks and Bradley Cooper.

ryan gosling

  1. Conan O’Brian – ’92 Ford Taurus SHO

The late night talk show host may be worth around $75 million, but he still drives the same ’92 Taurus SHO he has been driving for the last 20-odd years. The five-speed car has a Yamaha-made 3.0 litre V6 engine with 220bhp. Not bad for a car that’s been rumbling along for over 2 decades.

conan

  1. Queen Elizabeth II – Range Rover Sport

The adorable 89 year old monarch is well known for her fondness for cars, and Land Rover has long been a manufacturer close the Royal Family’s collective heart. The Queen’s latest, a custom, open roofed, hybrid Range Rover Sport, was built for the Queen in 2015 to commemorate the Range Rover’s 45th birthday – which is almost as impressive as the fact that 2015 was the Queen’s 63rd year on the throne. The current Royal Range Rover has a 3.0 litre engine, with 306 bhp and an impressive 0-62 of 6.8 seconds.

queen

  1. Madonna – Mini Cooper

‘Holiday’ singer and fitness fanatic Madonna loves her Mini so much that she rapped (yes, rapped) about it in her song ‘American Life': “I drive my Mini Cooper and I’m feeling super-duper”. You may or may not be surprised to learn that the song bombed, with several music publications dubbing it ‘the worst rap verse of all time’. Luckily, it didn’t tarnish the reputation of the much loved 2.0 litre, 189 bhp Mini Cooper.

madonna-mini-cooper-2

  1. Justin Bieber – smart fortwo

While his garage may be crammed with a chrome Fisker Karma, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Ferrari 430, the Bieb also finds time to own and drive a matte black smart fortwo, with a 0.8 litre engine and a 0-62 of 16.8 seconds, countered with a MPG of 66. Oh, and he’s had the ‘Smart Car’ logo changed to read ‘Swag Car’. Of course he has.

bieber

  1. Paris Hilton – Bentley Continental GT Coupe

Okay, so this car isn’t that surprising as a celebrity ride, given the price tag. What is shocking though, is  that, rather than appreciate the car for what it is – a piece of automotive excellence and a symbol of success and class capable of a staggering 582bhp – Ms Hilton took it upon herself to spray paint the whole thing hot pink. Take a look at the photo below, or just throw sand in your own eyes. It’s more or less the same thing.

 Paris-hilton-pink-bentley

  1. Daniel Radcliffe – Fiat Punto

When The Boy Who Lived reached 18th birthday, the easy-going actor gained access to his then-fortune of £23 million (now an eye watering £78 million). While that much money would send your average teen wild, (we’re looking at you, Justin) Daniel spent his earnings on an affordable and environmentally conscious 1.2 litre Fiat Punto. Good lad.

b1627e50-549d-4321-9635-3bd320bbb1d8

  1. Jeremy Clarkson – VW Golf GTI

It’s kind of car you’d expect to find in Clarkson’s garage, but the VW Golf GTI owned by the motor-mouth journo is anything but average, rocketing to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, with 217bhp and a top speed of 152mph. The world’s most loved and loathed car critic also owns a Ford GT, a Ferrari F355, a Lamborghini Gallardo, a Jaguar XJR, a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, a – look, we could be here all day. Basically, he has a lot of cars.

Top-Gear-BMW-M135i-F21-VW-Golf-GTI-Vergleich-Jeremy-Clarkson

  1. Clint Eastwood – Fiat 500

Now in his 85th year, the legendary Man With No Name has traded in his horse and hung up his spurs, instead opting for a cutesy Fiat 500 to nip around Hollywood in. Gone are the days when the permanently squinting megastar gunned down punks in the street, these days it seems he’s more concerned with the Fiat 500s smooth ride, 1.2 litre engine and efficient 60.1 miles to the gallon. The Fiat has excellent cabin room, however, should Clint ever fancy donning his Stetson again.

clint

Author: dan hackett

Title: Is The Knowledge Under Threat?

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Summary: They’re an iconic and much loved mode of transport with a rich history, but recently it seems like London's black cabs could be under threat. With competition from rideshare and private hire firms on the up, and a declaration from a high court judge that black cabs are “devoid of inherent distinctive character” paving the way for a new generation of eco cabs, the future of the black cab seems rocky.

Meta Title: Is The Knowledge Under Threat

Meta Description: With the landscape of the UK taxi industry changing, it looks like the iconic knowledge could be under threat. But what is the knowledge, and what could replace it?

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Black Cabs

They’re an iconic and much loved mode of transport with a rich history, but recently it seems like London’s black cabs could be under threat. With competition from rideshare and private hire firms on the up, and a declaration from a high court judge that black cabs are “devoid of inherent distinctive character” paving the way for a new generation of eco cabs, the future of the black cab seems rocky.

It’s not just the exterior of black cabs that might be about to change forever either, but the brains behind the wheel too. Late last year, the Greater London Authority Conservatives criticised “the knowledge” – a rigorous test that all the capital’s black cab drivers must pass – calling it “archaic” and “a major barrier to recruitment” in the face of modern technology like GPS navigation.

On top of this, one of London’s most respected “knowledge schools” has recently and narrowly avoided closure, supposedly prompted by a rise in rideshare companies and rising rents in the capital. With this in mind, could the knowledge really be nearing extinction?

 What is the knowledge?

London’s cabbies have traditionally been required to be able to determine the best route to any destination in the city almost immediately. That means no checking maps, no asking for directions, and certainly no robotic voiced Sat Nav systems. No, in order to get from A to B by the most logical route possible, cab drivers in London have to pass the knowledge, a geographical test that it can take years of practice and research to pass.

The knowledge was first introduced in 1865, and hasn’t changed too much since then. In order to obtain a black cab license, prospective drivers must pass at least twelve oral “appearances”, testing their memory of 320 set routes, 25000  roads, and features like hospitals, tourist attractions, theatres, courts, railway buildings, parks, cemeteries, embassies, and pretty much any landmark you could think of.

Part of the training involves driving a moped around the city and memorising set routes, and usually lasts around 34 months. The whole learning process is so intense that studies have shown that the hippocampus – the part of the brain responsible for spatial memory – is significantly larger in taxi drivers than the general population. It’s no wonder that the knowledge has been called one of the most demanding occupational training courses in the world.

Why is the knowledge under threat?

There isn’t one simple reason for the potential threat posed to the knowledge, but the most obvious one is the competition posed by rideshare apps. Uber in particular is often singled out as being the cause of the potential decline of the capital’s black cab trade, and not entirely without justification either. Since the launch of the app in 2012, knowledge schools have reported the number of students undertaking the test has declined. Knowledge Point, an Islington based knowledge school recently saved from closure, reported a decrease of 150 students over the space of a year, with around 200 students enrolled in training in 2015 compared to 350 in 2014.

Although it’s easy to single Uber and its competitors out as the source of all the black cab industry’s woes, it’s important to consider why drivers might choose to work for the rideshare app over getting a black cab or minicab license. It could simply be that in a world where Sat Nav and Google maps are de rigueur, the prospect of memorising the each and every way around an entire city by heart is simply too daunting. Before Sat Nav, the only realistic way to get around will have been to memorise routes off by heart (unless you were up for fiddling around with a huge map every time you picked up a fare). However, easier alternatives do now exist, and who’s to blame taxi drivers for turning to them?

When put this way, it almost sounds like the knowledge itself is a threat to the black cab trade; something that in 2016, new drivers just don’t have the time, patience, or even money for; after all, the training process is almost a full time job in itself.

What’s the big deal?

Whilst the easy GPS navigation and less strenuous licensing process offered by rideshare companies might seem like a plus to new drivers, some believe that they could be acting as negatives for customers. Research released by Addison Lee shows that in 2015, a 56% increase in new taxi vehicles took place on the streets of London, which coincided with a 10% rise in journey times, and thus increased fares for customers. Addisson Lee have suggested that these stats are largely the result of an influx of new rideshare drivers taking to the streets, who perhaps rely too heavily on GPS navigation. Commenting on the statistics, Addison Lee’s chief executive Andy Boland said “Our drivers and passengers have been telling us that London congestion has been getting worse and that journeys are taking longer. Now we have the evidence. At busy times, some parts of the capital are literally grinding to a halt.”

With this in mind, it’s perhaps not the difficulty of the knowledge that’s the issue, but the ease of becoming a rideshare driver. Whilst it’s certainly true that ex-private hire and even black cab drivers have chosen to work under the Uber name, if drivers who are entirely new to the industry choose the quickest way to getting a license, then it’s reasonable to suggest that the service they offer won’t match up. In these kinds of cases, the availability of Uber drivers might seem like a convenience for customers, but the reliance on Sat Nav and lack of knowledge of the best routes to take could be a detriment.

In summary, the potential decline of the knowledge seems to just be a case of the old and the new clashing. Whilst it’s hard to deny the appeal that really knowing a city and it’s streets has, it seems as though the next generation of London’s cabbies are likely to find their knowledge in a Sat Nav.

Whether it’s you or your Sat Nav that’s in the knowledge, why not take a look at our range of taxis for sale today.

Author: Tom

Title: A Guide to Vehicle Adaptations

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Summary: To help make you aware of the types of car adaptations for disabled drivers that are available when choosing a vehicle, we’ve put together a brief guide with all the introductory information about vehicle adaptations you’ll need.

Meta Title: A Guide to Vehicle Adaptations

Meta Description: Here at Bristol Street Versa, we offer a wide range of car adaptations for disabled drivers. Click through to read a quick guide to just a few of the wheelchair vehicle adaptations we can provide.

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Motability adaptations

Here at Bristol Street Versa we are able to provide and fit a wide range of mobility enhancing vehicle adaptations and accessories into your car or wheelchair accessible vehicle. Whatever your specific needs are, it’s likely that there will be a vehicle adaptation designed to make your life easier. To help make you aware of the types of car adaptations for disabled drivers that are available when choosing a vehicle, we’ve put together a brief guide with all the introductory information about vehicle adaptations you’ll need.

What is a vehicle adaptation?

A vehicle adaptation is a change made to improve the accessibility or functionality of a vehicle for a disabled person. Adaptations can generally be broken down into three areas:

  1. Access adaptations – Adaptations designed to make it easier for a person to get in and out of a vehicle.
  2. Stowage adaptations – Adaptations that alter and improve a vehicle’s storage facilities, to allow for wheelchair and scooter stowage.
  3. Driving adaptations – Fittings installed to make it possible or easier for a person to drive.

What type of vehicle adaptations are there? 

Vehicle adaptations come in a number of different types to suit. Below, we’ve broken down vehicle adaptions into the access, stowage, and driving areas, and included specific fixtures within these.

Access

Swivel seats

  • Swivel seats allow for easy access to the vehicle for wheelchair users, scooter users, and for those with limited mobility. A swivel seat is a seat that is able to be turned to face out from the vehicle, making it easier to get in and out. Swivel seats can either be manually powered or motor powered, and can be designed so the base of the seat allows for a wheelchair to be inserted.

 Electric Hoist

  • Electric hoists are fittings that physically lift a person into a vehicle. Generally, these consist of a permanent but discrete fitting added to the door of a vehicle, and a separate frame attachment. When a person with limited mobility needs to get into the vehicle, the frame will be attached to the permanent door fixture alongside a hoist, and the person will be lifted into the seat.

Wheelchair and Scooter Stowage

Car boot hoist

  • A car boot hoist is a type of wheelchair lift that allows a scooter or wheelchair to be easily lifted and stowed in a car boot. Depending on the size of your car, and the size of your wheelchair/scooter, you may need to choose a certain type of hoist. Mini, Midi, and Maxi hoists allows for chairs and scooters from 40kg to over 100kg to be lifted into the car boot via a permanent hoist and removable frame. A platform hoist on the other hand, allows for a scooter or wheelchair to be driven onto a permanent platform, and lifted onto a boot; however, this is only suitable for larger vehicles.

Rooftop stowage

  • This is a hoist that allows for a wheelchair to be lifted onto and stored in a rooftop stowage compartment. Rooftop stowage is a useful alternative to a car boot hoist if you have a smaller vehicle, or if you simply need boot space for other things.

Driving

Left Foot Accelerators

  • Left foot accelerator pedals are used by those who have limited use of their right leg, and who thus may find it difficult to use a standard accelerator. Left hand accelerators don’t have to be permanent, and can be easily placed in by a mobility driver if needed. This allows for the traditional accelerator set up to still be used; useful if a vehicle has more than one nominated driver.

Hand Controls

  • Hand controls for cars are ideal for those who find traditional brake and acceleration controls difficult. The most common hand control is a push/pull device. This adaptation is typically installed as a lever connected to the brake and accelerator, allowing a user to drive with their hand of choice.

Electronic Accelerators

  • Electronic accelerator systems are designed for those who find both traditional and hand operated accelerators difficult to use. Installed as either a ring over the steering wheel or as a finger operated trigger, they require minimal effort and power to be used.

Pedal Extension

  • Ideal for those who have difficulty reaching the pedals in a vehicle. A pedal extension is a fixture that can be simply fitted over existing pedals, bringing them closer to a driver.

Steering Aid

  • For Motability customers that find it difficult to keep hold of a steering wheel, a steering wheel aid could help. The most common steering aid is a steering ball. This is a simple ball attached to the wheel that allows for easier grip.

Remote Controls

  • If you find it difficult to reach or use the horn, windscreen wipers, lights, or more when driving, a remote control device could help. This is a steering wheel mounted control, making all the necessary features accessible from one place.

How do I find out which vehicle adaptations are right for me?

There’s bound to be a vehicle adaptation that will suit you, whatever your needs might be.  When you get in touch with Bristol Street Versa to enquire about a new wheelchair accessible vehicle, you should ensure that you let a member of the team know about any specific requirements you might have. We can also help with enquiries about Motability, so if you think you’re eligible to receive adaptations through the Motability scheme then let us know.

We hope this guide has given you a good introduction to the range of different vehicle adaptations available. If you’d like to know more about vehicle adaptations, why not get in touch with Bristol Street Versa today.

Author: Tom

Title: Taxi News Roundup – February 2016

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Summary: Read all the latest UK taxi industry news from February 2016, courtesy of The Taxi Centre.

Meta Title: Taxi News Roundup | February 2016

Meta Description: Find out all the latest taxi industry news in our latest taxi news roundup. All the biggest news about Uber, Transport for London, and Hull's taxi driver shortage.

Article:

Taxi News - Feb 16

General Motors Partners with Lyft on Autonomous Vehicles

Last month General Motors announced that they had entered into a new partnership with rideshare service Lyft, in order to work together on researching driverless vehicle technology.

General Motors – the parent company of 13 global vehicle manufacturers, including Vauxhall, Cadillac, and Buick – stated that the partnership involves pledging around $500m to taxi service Lyft, and guarantees seat for the company on Lyft’s board of directors. A spokesperson for Lyft commented that the partnership would help the companies to “build a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles that will make getting around more affordable, accessible, and enjoyable”.

However, a date for the release of a driverless vehicle has not yet been released, meaning that you might have to wait a while to buy a taxi as a result of the partnership.

London Cabs to Accept Card Payments

Transport for London has announced that all black cabs in the city must be ready to accept contactless payment from October, in a bid to help the taxi trade keep up with rideshare competitors.

The decision was backed by representatives of London’s taxi trade, who stated that allowing card payment in cabs would benefit drivers and customers alike. In preliminary consultations, around 86% of drivers surveyed said they would like to see card payments introduced.

Steve McNamara of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Associated commented that the decision was “Fantastic news for London. This means that when you hail a cab you can be sure that you can pay the way you like, which is without doubt better for customers and for drivers.”

Gett Hires Knowledge Students as Couriers

Taxi app Gett announced last month that they were branching out into courier services.

Gett Courier, which launched on the 1st of February, allows customers to hire a moped courier to collect and deliver a parcel, with an estimated delivery time of around an hour. Gett has stated that it will use prospective black cab drivers – so called knowledge boys and girls – as courier drivers, in an effort to support the existing taxi industry.

The service, which at the time of writing is only available in London, will be active from 9am to 9pm, and is estimated to be around 30% cheaper than alternative couriers.

Local Council Tightens Licensed Vehicle Regulations

Operators of out-of-area licensed private hire and hackney cabs within the Bradford region have been told they have six months to make efforts to comply with new council regulations.

At present, private hire and taxi vehicles from other regions can lawfully be used within the Bradford council area if pre-booked. Under the new regulations, pre-booking of out-of-area vehicles will still be legal, but will be handled through a separate booking system that places their responsibility with the relevant licensing authority in instances of complaint. Customers will also be notified if a vehicle they have booked is not licensed by Bradford Council.

The regulations are set to crack down on the number of licensed drivers from other areas operating within the Bradford council region. Around 200 out-of-area drivers currently operate across the Bradford region, which the council believes could pose a risk to the safeguarding of the public.

Hull Experiences “Chronic Shortage” of Taxi Drivers

Private Hire companies in Hull are experiencing a “chronic shortage” of drivers, with reports of customers having to wait up to 3 hours for a taxi during busy periods.

Reports from local news in Hull state that some owners of private hire firms have to “beg” drivers to work in order to get enough cars on the road, and that the shortage is prevalent even in normally quiet periods. The shortage is being attributed to the method of licensing in the city, which some operators believe could be deterring potential drivers from applying. Drivers in the city must undertake a BTEC qualification in order to receive a license, with reports of the qualification process taking around 5-10 month, which many in the cities’ private hire trade believe to be too long.

Hull City Council’s licensing committee has agreed to meet with representatives of private hire firms in order to assess and resolve the situation.

Thinking of getting an upgrade? Take a look at the taxis for sale we have at The Taxi Centre.

Author: Tom

Title: Car Cultures Around the World: USA’s Route 66

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Summary: The USA is quite big. Just shy of 10 million square kilometres, actually. The United States spans mountains, lakes the size of seas, deserts, and just about every other climate you could imagine. As you would expect, a country so vast has some pretty spectacular stretches of road, and none is more famous or iconic than Route 66.

Meta Title: Car Culture | Driving Route 66

Meta Description: Route 66 is one of the most fabled and storied roads in the world, but how did it become such an american icon? Take a look at our Route 66 driving guide to find out.

Article:

Route 66

The USA is quite big. Just shy of 10 million square kilometres, actually. The United States spans mountains, lakes the size of seas, deserts, and just about every other climate you could imagine. As you would expect, a country so vast has some pretty spectacular stretches of road, and none is more famous or iconic than Route 66. We’ll bet you didn’t know, however, that it all started with camels.

It all started in 1857 during the Gold Rush, when Lt. Beale, a Naval Officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, was ordered to build a wagon road from Arkansas to Los Angeles. His secondary objective during this mission was to test whether camels would make good pack animals in the American desert. It turns out camels do quite well in the desert, but unfortunately the American Civil War broke out and the experiment was dropped.

Beale’s Wagon Road would lay the foundations for the route that would eventually become one of the world’s most famous highways. The full road stretches from Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles, curves its way through 8 states, and 2,451 miles later reaches Chicago. The road’s popularity grew massively in its early years, thanks to its scenic route and the fact that being so flat made it perfect for huge long haul trucks.

After a stint as the unpaved National Old Trails Highway, in 1926 the road underwent a name change, to the much catchier Route 66. The road was nicknamed ‘the Main Street of America’, due to the fact that it wound through many small towns in the Midwest, and hundreds of cafes, petrol stations, motels and tourist hot spots sprang up along it. John Steinbeck dubbed it “Mother Road” in The Grapes of Wrath, as thousands of families migrated along the highway during the Great Depression.

Route 66 - Motel

In the 1950’s, work began on high-speed Interstate roads. These new routes bypassed much of US66, to the dismay of pretty much everyone. As traffic took to these new, speedier roads, tourism died along Route 66, and the route was eventually decommissioned. That’s right – you won’t find Route 66 on a map today.

Don’t despair however; if you are craving a slice of vintage Americana, you can still blaze a trail across the States in a rented vintage car, following the ghost of the now-called Historic Route 66. In recent years, the popularity of the road in films and pop culture has seen a revival for the legendary highway. Roughly 85% of the road still exists, although today you can expect to fewer bearded Easy Rider types and more kitschy tourist traps.

Towns along the route make the most of their claim to fame, and over the years have added countless ‘Route 66’ signs to the roadside to ensure passing motorists pull over. It worked – tourists did indeed begin pulling over, however, usually only to steal the road signs for souvenirs. Consequently, the iconic Route 66 logo began being spray painted directly onto the road, which is significantly harder to steal (although you can bet someone will have tried).

It’s hard to imagine a British road conjuring the same sort of inspiration as Route 66. The M4 from Slough just doesn’t have the same romance about it. Today, the iconic highway (that’s Route 66, not the M4) draws petrol heads and adventure seekers from all over the world hoping to feel the wind in their hair and see what some of that open road freedom that the Americans seem so keen on really feels like.

 

Author: Dan