CYCLE delivery company Pedal & Post has parked its plans to launch a taxi service due to the coronavirus crisis and is focusing on work to combat Covid-19.

In May, the firm based on the Osney Mead industrial estate, launched a new ‘local Oxford supermarket’ to transport groceries from businesses to residents in the city.

All items are being delivered ‘emission free’ by a team of about 15 staff using cargo bikes.

The company is also busy delivering patient samples for the NHS.

Oxford Mail:

But its plans to launch a rickshaw/pedicab taxi service in the new year to provide more green jobs in Oxford have now been put on hold.

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Pedal & Post boss Chris Benton said: “This has been a pin-up idea on our board and we would love to do it but with the current situation it’s not the right time to launch it and it won’t happen this year or next.

“There are lots of things to consider - licensing, how we would operate and who would use the service, particularly as the PickMeUp bus service was not sustainable in the city centre.

“There’s a fantastic company in London called Pedal Me, which has bikes designed specifically for this purpose and they could be looking for a multi-city operation - for us right now it’s nowhere near a priority.”

Oxford Mail:

Labour city councillor Colin Cook said a rickshaw or pedicab service would need to be licensed as it picks people up from the street or books customers’ journeys.

He added that current legislation for taxis in the city may need to be amended to accommodate pedicabs and that could lead to the company or the council needing to pay thousands of pounds.

Mr Cook said: “My recollection is that there is no guarantee that the government would approve any new by-law - given the current circumstances I think it would be wise for Pedal & Post to wait and do their homework on this one.”

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Rickshaw businesses have operated in the city in the past but not for a number of years.

Mr Benton said one of the firm’s key roles during the coronavirus pandemic has been delivering samples for the NHS. The company is one of many firms which is being forced to diversify during the coronavirus lockdown, which started in March.

Oxford Mail:

He added: “Pedal & Post has been couriering samples as part of a Covid-19 study to map how the virus impacts the health of multiple organs.

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“We collect for what’s known as the ‘first mile’ of the supply chain and put them onto GWR high-speed passenger trains and another cargo bike team in London unloads and completes the last mile to the Specialised Pathology labs.

"We have also been doing this back the other way with temperature-controlled samples and delivering them from the Oxford train station to the Churchill hospital site.”