Minicab firm, Addison Lee, has announced a new cycling service where its cabs will carry up to two passengers as well as one bike from October 19. It is a move that would have been unthinkable three years ago when the firm’s chairman drew a huge public backlash for his comments about cycling.
"It is time for us to say to cyclists, ‘You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up’,” wrote John Griffin in a 2012 article in Addison Lee’s free customer magazine – a piece in which he also instructed his drivers to illegally use London's bus lanes.
The latter comment resulted in Transport for London securing an injunction that ordered the firm to withdraw his instruction. The comments about cyclists resulted in a widespread boycott of the firm – something they seem to have been working to address ever since. Griffin himself stood down in 2014.
The press release about the new CycleCab service says: "Addison Lee is a strong supporter of London’s cyclists and ensures each of their drivers goes through a cyclist awareness training programme."
The decision to introduce cyclist awareness training came in the aftermath of Griffin’s comments as the firm sought to repair the damage. In the week that the decision was announced, around 200 cyclists had staged a ‘die-in’ outside its offices. At that time, the firm also said that it was considering installing front-facing video cameras in its vehicles to record journeys, meaning that footage could be used to provide evidence in incidents that led to a subsequent complaint from a cyclist.
The new CycleCab scheme is being launched in partnership with Six Day London, an event that will run from October 18-23.
Peter Boucher, Addison Lee’s Chief Commercial Officers said:
“We are delighted to team up with Six Day London to announce the launch of our newest product, CycleCab. Over the past couple of years we have seen an explosion in London cycling which we welcome.
"After consulting with our drivers we have discovered a large demand for this service and we want to make it more accessible for our customers. We are happy to be the first company to bring this product to market and excited to enhance our relationship with London’s cycling community.”
Mark Darbon, CEO of Madison Sports Group, promoters of Six Day London added: "Six Day London is a track cycling event unlike others, and working with a partner such as Addison Lee to support our vision is really important to us. It is also really important that we support them and their work with the CycleCab initiative, which is just part of their ongoing commitment to the cycling community in London."