Tuk tuks have arrived in Brighton! As of Monday they will be operating along a fixed route between the Marina and Hove (via Brighton station) with each journey costing a flat rate of £2.50. I like the idea and am sure they will appeal to tourists, but whether the project can be sustained - especially with a small fleet of 12 vehicles restricted to a fixed route and timetable - remains to be seen. For more details visit www.tuctuc.co.uk
Here's Thursday's full press release:
TucTuc Limited today announced the launch of Europe's first TucTuc service, which will begin official operation on Monday 10 July 2006. Brighton & Hove has been chosen as the test-bed for this pioneering service, which is due to be introduced in London in May 2007 and across the rest of the UK and Europe in 2008/2009.
The service will provide tourists, shoppers and visitors with a safe, economical and environmentally friendly means of getting around the city. Ideal for moving through congested urban environments, motorised rickshaws (or TucTucs) are commonplace in Asia. TucTuc Limited has been awarded the first known operator's licence of its kind outside Asia. Super-low emission vehicles, the TucTucs have been specially imported from India and run on 'CNG' (Compressed Natural Gas) making this a virtually zero-emission mode of transport. The vehicles are also very compact, helping to ease congestion and addressing the huge demand for new and innovative forms of public transport.
Set to completely change the urban landscape of cities and become a massive tourist attraction, the TucTucs will be individually wrapped with one of twelve distinctive designs, including the tongue-in-cheek 'Chavrolet' and the fruity 'Strawberry'. Each eye-catching design is guaranteed to get passengers noticed! Drivers will sport a custom-made uniform, designed by hip Brighton celebrity tailor, Gresham Blake. The new operation will provide around 50 full and part-time jobs, for people looking for a sociable and socially responsible career. The TucTuc service will offer the public a safe and trustworthy means of travel, which is particularly important late at night. All drivers will undergo stringent road safety and knowledge tests, rigorous vetting procedures and must hold a full UK or international driving licence. Drivers will also be trained to undertake minor mechanical repairs. Specially fitted safety features include passenger and driver seatbelts and strengthened overhead and side impact protection.
The service will operate all year round from 8am-2am, Monday to Saturday (8am-11pm, Sundays and Bank Holidays). A reduced service will operate during November to March, with a peak during the summer season. The all-weather vehicles come complete with weatherproof hoods and side curtains to keep out the rain and cold. An extremely economical service, fares start from just £1.50 per passenger, regardless of distance travelled. Vehicles will pick up and drop off passengers from any stop along the route. A route map will be on display in every vehicle and available at hotels and restaurants throughout Brighton & Hove. Passengers who ride in all 12 vehicles can claim their free mini TucTuc toy or TucTuc T-shirt as a keepsake. The vehicles will refuel at a dedicated filling station in Brighton Marina, which will also be open to the public, so they can take advantage of this environmentally friendly and low-cost fuel.
Dominic Ponniah, Executive Director, TucTuc Limited comments: "We want to encourage everyone to go green! The new TucTuc service supports local government transport and sustainability strategies to make Brighton & Hove a vibrant and healthy, people-friendly city in which to travel. We're convinced that the service will provide a fun-factor to getting around the city, which will appeal to locals and visitors alike."