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Title: Accessible Tech: Top 4 Apps for Wheelchair Users

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Summary: We take a look at some of our favourite apps for wheelchair users.

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Man in wheelchair using a tablet to access an app

Modern smartphones and tablets are great for keeping in touch with friends and family, and keeping us entertained – but the huge choice of apps available means they can actually be useful beyond that.

Take a look at some of our favourite apps for wheelchair users below.

Wheelmap

When you use a wheelchair, planning your days out can be a bit of a gamble without knowing what access is going to be like.

Wheelmap is available as an app, or you can visit their website here. Places are added and rated by app users, meaning the reviews are reliable and honest.

Almost 600,000 public places are listed on the app worldwide, with up to 300 added each day. A variety of places are included, as anyone can mark almost any point of interest. This ranges from bus stations, restaurants, cinemas and banks through to Government offices.

The useful tags work in an easy to use traffic light system (Green, Amber and Red) and indicate levels of accessibility.

  • Green indicates full accessibility – for example, ground level, step-free throughout (or lift access) and accessible toilet facilities if they are available.
  • Amber indicates some accessibility – for example, one stage maximum entrance, most of the rooms on ground level.
  • Red indicates the place is not accessible at all.

The great thing about Wheelmap is that ratings can be added at any time by any user. Further, as it is not just limited to facilities, it’s a great tool to enhance everyday life.

Wheelmap is available to download from the iTunes App Store for iOs or Play for Android and Windows Phones.  Alternatively, you can visit Wheelmap.org from your device or desktop.

Inclusive Britain

For everything a little closer to home, Inclusive Britain is an expansion of the popular Inclusive London app.

Inclusive Britain also lives both as an app and as a website, with the added capability of adding reviews, where you can comment not only on accessibility but on all areas of a service or venue.

Instead of the map functionality of Wheelmap, Inclusive Britain takes the form of a directory, with everything from hotels, healthcare, nature reserves, post offices and tourist attractions. You can search by postcode or by accessible features, making it efficiently concise if there is something in particular you are looking for.

You can send any details to your mobile phone to store for later reference, and you can also take advantage of the ‘Meet Me’ tool which aids with arranging activities with friends and family.

Pick up Inclusive London or Inclusive Britain on the iTunes App Store or register for the online directory at InclusiveBritain.com.

Apple Dictation

For iPhone or iPad users, Apple provide a free dictation tool: Apple Dictation. If you’re juggling a few things at once, and want to make hands-free notes on the move this is perfect (providing you’re connected with mobile data or Wi-Fi).

If you have iPhone 6s or newer, Enhanced Dictation is also available for unlimited dictation. Enabled in System Preferences, the Siri ding will indicate that you can start dictation. This requires no internet connection and text appears in real time. There’s no limit to how much you can dictate and has a startling accuracy level.

If you need quick and easy dictation to communicate or set reminders, without the fuss of apps, Apple capabilities mean that you can simply just ask Siri to save a note or send a message and dictate the text straight into your mic.

Apple Dictation supports 31 languages including English, Arabic, Chinese, Polish, Spanish, and Korean.

UberACCESS

The taxi-summoning app Uber now has an option for ‘UberACCESS’, created specifically for wheelchair users.

Formerly UberWAV, the app specialises in rear-entry taxis, allowing the wheelchair passenger to be forward-facing.  All UberACCESS drivers ensure safety and comfort during the journey, having received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All.

So, all you need is the Uber app, which then allows you to select UberACCESS as an option when requesting a taxi. The beauty of Uber is that the journey is paid via the app, which saves trawling to cashpoints if they are not convenient. All drivers and vehicles are logged and nominated friends or family can track your journeys for additional peace of mind.

For added reassurance, the journey only begins once you and your wheelchair are safely secured in the vehicle, eliminating any worries when it comes to totting up the fare.

UberACCESS operates in London, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Liverpool.

 

Author: Versa

Title: How To Drive in Windy Weather

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Summary: With the UK being a relatively small island, we're often exposed to windy conditions that can be very tricky to drive in. Here are our top tips for driving in windy weather.

Meta Title: How To Drive In Windy Weather | Bristol Street Motors

Meta Description: Our top tips for driving in windy conditions will blow you away!

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driving in windy weather

With the UK being a relatively small island, we’re often exposed to windy conditions that can be very tricky to drive in.

That’s why we’ve put together our top tips to help you survive the drive!

1. Check For Weather Warnings

The weather can change pretty quickly, so if it looks like conditions could become dangerous, you may need to consider the necessity of your journey.  It’s always advisable to keep an eye on local news updates – and if it’s looking apocalyptic out there, then it’s probably best not to travel.

2. Keep A Firm Grip Of The Wheel

Keep both your hands on the wheel so that if you feel the wind begin to move your car, you’re ready to react and adjust your steering before you run into trouble.

3. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

The thing about the wind is that it doesn’t blow at a steady pace or from the the same direction.  It gusts and swirls, and can be very hard to predict.  Some vehicles can be exceptionally vulnerable under these conditions – buses, lorries, vans, caravans, motorcyclists and cyclists.  It’s definitely a good idea to pay close attention to them, and leave a bit of extra room – they may need it if a large gust comes along.

4. Slow Down!

Going faster does not mean you counteract the effects of the wind. You’re actually better off slowing down so that you can keep better control of your vehicle.

5. Watch Out For Falling Objects

If the wind is strong enough, it’s certainly capable of throwing around some debris that’s big enough to cause some damage!  There could be branches, litter and objects blown from other vehicles – or they could be lying in the road, so be vigilant and expect the unexpected!

6. Make Sure Your Car Is In Good Condition

If your tyres are worn you’ll struggle to keep traction on the road, or if your brakes need attention they may not be effective enough if you need to stop suddenly.  There are any number of things that would make driving more difficult if your car isn’t in tip-top condition.  That’s why it’s important to keep on top of your Servicing, and have your car looked over by qualified mechanics and technicians on a regular basis.

It needn’t be a big expense though!  With our Service Plan you can spread the cost with one low monthly payment that covers your service, parts, labour, courtesy car provision and more.  You don’t even need to have bought your car from us!

Prices start from just £14.99 per month, and there’s no contract – you can cancel at any time!

Click Here to find out more about our Service Plan!

Author: Bristol Street Motors

Title: Versa Welcomes Former Army Captain as General Manager

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Summary: Bristol Street Versa is proud to appoint our new General Manager, Cameron Baldry, who joined our team back in January.

Meta Title: Versa Welcomes Former Army Captain | Bristol Street Versa

Meta Description: Bristol Street Versa is proud to appoint our new General Manager, Cameron Baldry, who joined our team back in January.

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Bristol Street Versa - GM

Bristol Street Versa is proud to appoint our new General Manager, Cameron Baldry, who joined our team back in January.

Bristol Street Versa is keen to have Cam on-board to utilise the leadership and people skills he gained during his time in the Army, and as it marks an exciting new era in the business. The career move has not only provided Cam with a new challenge, but also afforded this family man the opportunity to spend time with his wife and one-year-old son.

“I was looking for a new challenge and the position at Bristol Street Versa seemed like the perfect opportunity. Vertu Motors has such a fantastic reputation for how it treats its customers and colleagues, and it is a pleasure to work for them. Bristol Street Versa has a unique customer base, no day is the same and we are making a real difference to people’s every-day lives. I find that really rewarding. I have a motivated team of colleagues behind me, so I am looking forward to passing on my knowledge, and I’m eager to learn a few things from them too.”

With over 25 years’ worth of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle conversion expertise, Bristol Street Versa are delighted to help make positive changes in the wheelchair user community with their enduring customer service, transforming vehicles to incredible transport solutions.

Author: Versa

Title: Chase Park Festival: An Interview with Alistair McDonald

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Summary: The summer is set to bring a wide variety of activities to the North East, but none are as highly anticipated as Chase Park Festival. The festival is the biggest open air event of its kind in the UK, bringing together people from all walks of life to experience the best acts that the North East has to offer. The unique event ensures that regardless of ability, everyone can enjoy the event, with accessible facilities for those with disabilities.

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The summer is set to bring a wide variety of activities to the North East, but none are as highly anticipated as Chase Park Festival. The festival is the biggest open air event of its kind in the UK, bringing together people from all walks of life to experience the best acts that the North East has to offer. The unique event ensures that regardless of ability, everyone can enjoy the event, with accessible facilities for those with disabilities.

Alistair McDonald, who organises the event, spoke to us about the history and future of the festival.

Could you tell us a little bit about the history of Chase Park Festival – how and when did the idea for the festival come about?

The festival first started back in 2009. I was working for a care company that provided rehab and care to people with brain and spinal injuries. Once of the clients and his physio approached me with the idea of running an accessible music festival. It all developed from there! The young man in question is called Paul Belk and he is playing on our second stage this year with his band White Dove.

What years have been your most successful?

Michael Eavis from Glastonbury Festival usually says after the event “This was our best festival yet!” and I would tend to echo that approach. Every year we manage to improve the accessibility, grow the crowds and get bigger artists on the bill. Fingers crossed 2017 will be our biggest and best yet. I think this is the strongest line up we have ever had and I think that the move to Saltwell Park should really help us to reach new people.

Are there any artists that you’ve been particularly excited about being involved with the festival?

Over the years we have had some pretty high profile acts such as Ash, The Futureheads, Reverend and The Makers, Turin Brakes and Stornoway all of whom have been fantastic bands. We have also been lucky to have worked with brilliant emerging artists such as The Lake Poets. I have to say that the most exciting artists for me are the ones who perform on our second stage. The second stage is designed to give emerging disabled artists a platform. I love The Sound Beam Band, Aukestra and The Twisting Ducks.

Do you run any other projects alongside the festival?

We have been involved in a number of artist development programs which aim to help disabled musicians to develop their careers in the music industry. We are going to run some smaller gigs later in the year to try and give some exposure to new disabled artists who aren’t quite ready for the festival a chance to perform.

What plans do you have for the future of Chase Park Festival?

We really continue to push the boundaries in terms of what we can do to make the event as accessible as we can, as well as giving disabled musicians as much exposure as we possible. We want to make sure people have a great time so we will always be looking for way to get the best line up possible!

Chase Park Festival will be held on Saturday 26th August 2017 from 12-9PM. Be sure to visit our stand on the day and learn more about how we can help you create the perfect vehicle based on your individual needs.

To learn more about the festival, head over to the official website.

Author: Manpreet Sandhu

Title: Taxi News Roundup June 2017

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Summary: Take a look at our roundup of June's most important taxi news stories.

Meta Title: Taxi Industry News June 2017

Meta Description: Read the most important news stories from the taxi industry in our June taxi news roundup post.

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Taxi News June 2017UberPop Pulls Out of Finland

Uber’s troubles in Europe continued in June, with the company announcing the withdrawal of its UberPop service from Finland. The withdrawal is only expected to be temporary, with Uber stating the services have been suspended whilst it waits for a law that will deregulate the countries taxi industry to be passed.

Joel Järvinen, manager of Uber’s Finland operation, stated: “While we are looking forward to the reforms coming into effect, we have decided it is best to pause UberPop from 15 August until the new regulations allow a better environment”

“We want to ensure that we do not pose drivers who use our app or our employees any unnecessary issues, especially now that we have a bright future to look forward to. We believe that the best way to do so and focus on the future is to pause UberPop and relaunch in the summer of 2018.”

UberPop, which allows drivers to operate without needing a taxi license, has been the root of many of Uber’s recent problems in Europe. In 2015 Uber was forced to withdraw from Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt due to licensing issues, and UberPop has been banned since launch in Paris, Berlin and Brussels. In addition, UberPop has never been offered in the UK due to strict regulations around unlicensed taxi operations, with the company instead offering their licensed Uber X service.

Yorkshire Drivers Tackle Emissions

“Good progress” is being made to tackle air pollution by private hire and minicab drivers, according to the region’s Transport Committee.

An increased uptake in hybrid and electric vehicles by taxi drivers is set to significantly aid improvements to air quality in the area, with emissions set to be significantly lowered by 2020.

Councillor Keith Wakefield said that “around 500 diesel taxis and private hire vehicles are expected to be hybrid or pure electric versions by 2020”. This is partly due to increased investment in sustainable travel in the region, with a government grant expected to create funding for 88 new taxi and private hire charging points around Leeds alone. According to Wakefield, by 2020 this investment “could improve Nitrogen Dioxide emissions by as much as 18%”.

UK to See Public Driverless Taxi Trials

The UK is set to see a glimpse of the future later this year, with a fleet of brand new driverless cars set to take to the streets of Greenwich. The news marks the first public trials of driverless vehicles in the UK, with previous tests requiring passengers to register in advance.

The vehicles are set to run a circuit on a 2km strip of road in Greenwich, with prospective passengers able to hop in and out at four dedicated stopping points along the route. Cars will be able to ferry up to five passengers at a time, who will be accompanied by an on-board “safety warden” able of taking control of the vehicle should it need to make an emergency stop. However, as the vehicles are limited to a maximum speed of 15 miles an hour, there’s very little risk of any serious incident taking place.

It’s expected that demand for the vehicles will be high, with transport consultancy TRL expecting each vehicle to transport hundreds of people a day over the four week trial period. The trial comes as part of the UK funded “Gateway” project, which is using Greenwich as a testing hub for autonomous vehicles.

Author: Fusion

Title: Taxi News Roundup May 2017

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Summary: Read the most important news stories from the taxi industry in our May taxi news roundup post.

Meta Title: Taxi Industry News May 2017

Meta Description: Read the most important news stories from the taxi industry in our May taxi news roundup post.

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Taxi News May 2017

UK Drivers Protest Working Conditions

Late may saw drivers in a number of regions staging protests and threating strike action, with most looking to raise awareness of what they consider to be increasingly difficult working conditions.

Drivers in Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, York, Brighton, Oldham and London all took part in demonstrations to protest the oversaturation of vehicles in their areas. The protests were in part organised by the GMB union, which claims that a lack of stringency amongst local authorities has led to new licenses being handed out “like sweeties”.

GMB states that many areas are now so saturated with vehicles that drivers have to work longer hours to earn a decent wage. In addition, some drivers say that they have resorted to looking for work in areas they are not licensed.

Regarding the demonstrations, Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for the Taxi and Professional Drivers Trades, said: “The vast majority of drivers in the trades of both taxi and minicabs are professional drivers, and operate strictly in accordance with their licensing requirements.”

“However because of the huge surge in licences being issued there is now over capacity, where drivers are being encouraged by their operators to work hundreds of miles from where they are licensed. Unfortunately the government does not recognise there is a problem, which in the main is of their making.”

The union is now campaigning for changes to be to protect drivers, which include legislative amendments designed to protect local drivers, prevent out of town working, and halt illegal touting, alongside proposals for a national database for operators, drivers, and enforcement officers.

Uber Faces Uncertain Future in Europe

2017 hasn’t been a great year for Uber in Europe. In March the company was forced to cease activity in Denmark, following a change in legislation that effectively made it illegal for them to operate in the country. Then Italy followed suit, banning Uber altogether following a complaint from the country’s taxi unions.

In May the rideshare company’s future in Europe became even shakier, with a European Court of Justice advocate arguing that the company is a transport – not internet – company. Maciej Szpunar argues that as Uber’s services are “undoubtedly transport”, it “cannot be regarded as a mere intermediary between drivers and passengers”. Szpunar as such says that the court should re-evaluate Uber’s financial status. Although not a binding decision, if followed through by the court Uber could face far tighter regulations on the continent.

Uber’s self-identification as a digital service has meant that to date, the company has been able to operate and expand in Europe with relative ease. However, as transport companies are subject to more stringent laws than technology companies, a decision in support of the advocate could force Uber to comply with local legislation in all EU countries within which it operates.

London Moves Towards Greener Taxis

May saw the capitals taxi industry move towards a greener future, with the announcement that an LPG powered black cab would undergo a final round of assessment from Transport for London. The cab – created by Autogas – will undergo a 10,000 mile technology assessment to recreate the day to day activity of a typical London taxi, with TfL looking to consider whether the vehicle is suitable for general use.

With air quality in London coming under increasing scrutiny, TfL are looking for alternatives to the diesel vehicles the black cab trade operates on. LPG – or liquid petroleum gas – is viewed by many as an affordable and viable alternative to traditional fuel, and has already been introduced to the black cab trade in other cities in the UK, most notably Birmingham.

Speaking about the plans, Autogas’ business development manager Paul Oxford said: “London, like many other cities and towns across the UK, has a major air quality problem, largely as a result of NOx emissions and particulate matter from diesel vehicles.””Giving taxi drivers an immediate and viable opportunity to switch to a fuel source that is much cleaner than diesel will not only help improve local air quality, but it will also extend the usable life of their cab for another five years and save them around £200 a month in fuel costs, so it really is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Author: Fusion

Title: Taxi News Roundup April 2017

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Summary: Take a look at the latest taxi industry news in our April roundup post.

Meta Title: Taxi Industry News April 2017

Meta Description: Read the most important news stories from the taxi industry in our April taxi news roundup post.

Article:

 

Taxi News - April 2017

Drivers in South Lanarkshire Threaten Strike Action

Earlier in April we reported that drivers in the South Lanarkshire towns of Rutherglen and Cambuslang had threatened strike action, in protest over increasingly tough working conditions in the area. Drivers were concerned with what they view as an over-saturation of the number of taxis operating in the region, which they say is severely affecting their ability to earn a decent wage on a day to day basis.

South Lanarkshire granted 142 licenses to new drivers in 2016 alone, with the increase in new drivers on the road not corresponding with an increase in business. One driver in the area, Charles Spiers, said . “I know of drivers having to work twenty-four hours over a Friday and Saturday, just to pay the mortgage. Older drivers in particular are pushing themselves too hard. You have the same amount of jobs, but twice the amount of drivers”.

In response to the treat of strike action, Geraldine McCann, a representative for South Lanarkshire Council said that the law “does not currently permit the limiting of private hire cars”. However, McCann also mentioned the introduction of a new provision that would give local authorities the ability to limit and refuse to hand out private hire licenses, which is due to come into force during 2017.

Cabbies Protest Evening Standard Offices

Back in March, London’s Evening Standard newspaper announced that former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was to become its new editor. It turns out that some weren’t too happy with the announcement, with London’s licensed taxi trade in particular finding issue.

In late April, the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) announced that they were to protest outside the Evening Standard’s offices, over fears that Osborne’s appointment could lead to the paper losing its status as an independent “voice of London”. The LTDA cited recent allegations that suggest the former chancellor lobbied on behalf of ride-share company Uber during his time in office. The LTDA’s general secretary Steve McNamara also alleged that Osborne’s involvement with the firm BlackRock placed him as an indirect backer of Uber, stating that BlackRock had “invested millions of pounds in Uber – a £50bn company that paid just £400,000 in tax in the UK last year”.

Like drivers in South Lanarkshire, London drivers are operating in an increasingly saturated market, and as such the LTDA has had a longstanding issue with Uber. They view Osborne’s appointment to the Standard as something that could lead to a “lack of transparency” at the paper, and something that could potentially lead to editorials that favour the viewpoint of Uber over the LTDA. Whichever side of the argument you fall on, it’s safe to say that the discussion around Uber in the UK isn’t set to subside any time soon.

Mercedes on Track to Develop Self-Driving Taxis

The world of driverless taxis may not be too far off, as Mercedes and Bosch have announced they are set to work together to produce a market-leading “robo taxi”.

At the moment there isn’t too much of a market to lead in; as far as we’re able to tell, no company is successfully operating a driverless taxi service anywhere in the world. However, in terms of developing driverless taxis the market is saturated, with US rideshare giant Uber and China based taxi platform Didi Dache both independently working on such a service.

Mercedes’ parent group Daimler initially started development of a driverless vehicle alone, employing a team of around 500 engineers looking into hardware, software, and automotive development. However, the partnership with Bosch allows the two companies to ramp up their work, stating that they should have an autonomous vehicle ready by the beginning of the next decade.

For any drivers reading this worried that your job may be in peril within the next 3 years, don’t be too concerned. It’s highly unlikely that driverless cars will be made legal within such a short time-frame, and putting together such a landmark piece of legislation is likely to be a time consuming and lengthy task. Plus, with driverless vehicles currently making headlines for getting into scrapes and crashes around the globe, it’s unlikely that the public will be so quick to accept a ride from a taxi with no driver.

Author: Fusion

Title: Football’s Most Expensive Sackings

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Summary: We’ve all heard of the expression, “Get him a taxi,” when a football manager fails to cut the mustard. Now, come with us as we explore ten of the most expensive football sackings (and proverbial taxi fares) in recent memory.

Meta Title: Taxi For... | Football's Most Expensive Sackings

Meta Description: Come with us as we explore ten of football's most expensive sackings (and proverbial taxi fares) in recent memory.

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We’ve all heard of the expression “get him a taxi” when watching football on the telly. Every passing week seems to see another coach ingloriously given the boot, whether their team’s been too muted on the pitch or too raucous off it, with too few goals going in and too many coming the other way.

At the sport’s highest level, what’s always consistent are the enormous amounts of money involved when a football club decides that it’s ready to part ways with its manager. It’s safe to say that there’re few taxis that are more expensive than these!

We’ve laced up our boots, brushed up on our set-pieces and taken a look at ten of the most expensive managerial switches in recent years. We’ve explored the circumstances that led to each manager’s sacking and the highs and lows they enjoyed in their life at the club on the way! We’ve also shown how much money the club paid to get rid of the manager, portraying each separation fee as a fare!

Football Infographic-01

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Football

Author: Fusion

Title: Taxi News Roundup March 2017

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Summary: Read the biggest news stories from the taxi industry in our March news roundup post.

Meta Title: Taxi Industry News March 2017

Meta Description: Read the biggest news stories from the taxi industry in our March news post.

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Uber Withdraws from Denmark after Legal Face-Off with Danish Government

Uber, the company behind the widely-used but controversial ride-share app of the same name, are set to end all of their operations in Denmark, after the introduction of new Danish law that requires all hire cars to have seat occupancy sensors and fare meters, which many Uber drivers’ cars will not be able to meet.

An Uber spokesperson, speaking after news broke of the law’s implementation, said: “For us to operate in Denmark again, the proposed regulations need to change. We will continue to work with the government in the hope that they will update their proposed regulations and enable Danes to enjoy the benefits of modern technologies like Uber.”

The San Francisco based company have met legal problems not just in Denmark but across the world. Keep checking the Taxi Centre blog for more Uber updates.

UK Government Takes a Harsher Stand Against Drivers on the Phone

The UK government has increased the penalty of being found using a phone behind the wheel of a moving vehicle to a £200 fine and six points against your license.

New drivers who receive six points will be required to retake both the practical and theory exam, while more experienced drivers will be banned if docked for any amount above twelve points. Drivers caught on the phone previously were able to avoid the points penalty by going on an educational course, but the law change has simultaneously removed this as an option.

It’s been illegal to use a phone behind the wheel since the 1st of March, 2003, which doesn’t just apply to talking and texting; using apps like Google Apps, for instance, is also against the law. The only circumstances in which you’re allowed to be on the phone while in the driver’s seat are when you’re safely parked or it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

RTPC chief inspector Colin Carswell said: “Using a hand-held mobile phone whilst driving means a driver’s attention is distracted from the road. After speeding, it’s probably the most dangerous thing a driver can do – leading to people being killed and injured on our roads. You’re slower at recognising and reacting to hazards if you are driving and using a mobile.”

While hands-free options do allow you to speak on the phone whilst driving, you’re still liable for prosecution should your phone usage appear to compromise your ability to concentrate on the road!

Taxi Drivers Campaign Against Diesel

In a letter to the UK Government, various taxi organisations have pledged their support for the implementation of a national diesel scrappage scheme.

Air pollution is becoming more and more of a pressing concern across the UK’s cities. The letter requested that the UK government help drivers make the switch away from diesel cars to greener alternatives, of which there are now many, such as the Nissan Leaf which has become a green favourite among taxi drivers.

Despite the increasing pressure that’s being directed at the government, alongside the fact that over half of the British public statistically support diesel scrappage, the year’s budget made no mention of introducing such a scheme. However, a new “tax treatment for diesel vehicles” was suggested as something planned for 2017’s autumn budget.

The UK taxi industry has been pioneering in bringing environmentally friendly vehicles onto our cities’ roads. The environmental impact of these cars is complemented by their considerably lower running costs and superior fuel economy.

For more on low emission vehicles and the Nissan Leaf, check out last month’s news round-up!

Author: Fusion

Title: The History of Citroën

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Summary: Few French car manufacturers are more reputed or classic than Citroën. Read on to learn about the fascinating story of Andre Citroën, how Citroën grew from the smouldering ruins of post-war France into one of the largest, most influential automotive companies of all time.

Meta Title: The History of Citroen

Meta Description: Find out how Citroën emerged from the smouldering ruins of post-war France to become one of the most influential automotive companies of all time.

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Citroen 2CV

French cars have always reserved a special place in our affections, balancing superb mechanics with a chic, minimalist flair to become the first choice of every city-dweller seeking to add a joie de vivre to their drives.

Few French car manufacturers are more reputed or classic than Citroën. Read on to learn about the fascinating story of Andre Citroën, how Citroën grew from the smouldering ruins of post-war France into one of the largest, most influential automotive companies of all time.

A country in chaos                                                                                       

Ironically, Citroën’s roots are intrinsically tied to those of another French motoring powerhouse.

During World War I, factories of all types across Europe were commissioned to support the war effort. Prior to the outbreak, Andre Citroën was a highly respected mechanic and the director of Mors, a French car manufacturer that ranked as a market leader at the turn of the century. After the start of the war, however, Citroën became the overseer of a vast munitions factory of 35,000 workers, which was owned – of all people – by Renault!

After four years, and as the war began to wind down, Andre Citroën knew that the demand for munitions would soon be over. He, his factory and his staff required a new project. What did he come up with, you ask? Introducing….

Citroen Thing

The Citroën Type A

The vehicle that Andre et al devised was simply named the 10 HP Type A. This was an automotive with a water-cooled 1327 cc four-cylinder engine, outputting 18hp, enjoying maximum speeds of 40mph. Made first available for purchase in 1919, over time the car became adapted to several carriage options: there were three Torpedo models (a four-seater and three-seater tourer and a sport variants), a Conduite Intérieure (principally, a saloon) and a light truck!

Factory

Citroën’s passion for publicity

One thing that Andre seems to have loved as much as cars was marketing, displaying a long-lasting appetite for advertisement: he sponsored races, rallies and expeditions across countries throughout the globe; he turned the Citroën factory, on the bank of the Seine, into a tourist attraction; and, most notably of all, he converted the Eiffel Tower into a colossal, marketing lightshow, with 250,000 light bulbs and 600 kilometres of electric cable combining to display a luminous CITROEN down the side of the building. It’s unsurprising, then, that by the advent of the 1930s, Citroën were the fourth-biggest car manufacturer on the planet. On the way, Citroën returned to his roots and purchased his former company of Mors, joining Citroën’s vivid ranks.

Citroen Tower

Tragedy hits

Citroën were a visionary company, led by a suitably visionary entrepreneur. However, there was an Icarian aspect to their innovation; by the middle of the 1930s, the entire operation looked set to crumble into disarray.

Citroën over-invested in a prototype vehicle known as the Traction Avant – the front-wheel drive. It was a wholly revolutionary vehicle that looked set to pioneer an entirely new system of motion.

Citroën worked with such passion on the Traction Avant that they ultimately overspent. In 1934, they were officially declared bankrupt.

The lights come back on

You’ll be pleased to hear that the pioneering front-wheel drive didn’t lead purely to backward steps.

Citroën were bought out by Michelin, the tire manufacturer; sharing Citroën’s vision and eye for the future, they continued the Traction Avant’s development. By the end of the 1930s, it ranked as one of France’s most successful vehicles; in France, it’s still known today as “Reine de la Route”, or, to us, “the Queen of the Road”.

Though Andre Citroën died in 1935 of stomach cancer, he did so with his company’s fortunes truly back on the rise; his funeral was an enormous Parisian ceremony, as the people of France bid their last goodbyes to one of the nation’s most well-loved, iconic automotive pioneers.

Author: Fusion