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Description of the Project

Recently there have been serious problems in Moscow connected with organisation of work of taxi transport in the city. These problems were caused by unsatisfactory realisation of the city's program of development of taxi transport as well as by deficit of transport facilities. The existing system of work of Moscow taxi does not meet contemporary requirements. Resolution # 148 "On organisational and legal measures on development and regulation of taxi transport in Moscow" issued by the Government of Moscow on February 25, 1997 evidences that giving taxi transport out to private owners did not proved worthwhile. Production premises and capacity of privatised taxi parks are not used at maximum volume and on proper purpose. It happens that people, whose professional qualities are not adequate for working in passenger motor transport, are accepted for driving cars. Passenger transport authorities maintain low requirements to drivers and cars, which leads to decreasing security of traffic. All these factors made the Government of Moscow take measures on improvement of work of taxi transport.

It is possible to solve the problem of deficit of transport facilities by several methods:

1. Equipping the city's taxi parks with cars produced by domestic manufacturers. This way was chosen by the Moscow company "Autoline", which signed an agreement with Gorkovskiy Automobile Plant on delivery of one thousand cars. The disadvantage of this method is low quality and reliability of domestic cars, which are not also very comfortable.

2. Purchasing cars abroad. In spite of excellent technical characteristics of imported cars this idea was given up because the cars' cost is too high. Besides, when buyers import cars from foreign countries they stimulate development of these countries' industry and distract funds from their own country's economy.

3. Production of foreign cars on Moscow automobile plants. Currently many Moscow enterprises are in difficult situation because of the lack of orders for their products. At the same time these enterprises possess free production space and high-skilled labour force. Organisation of production of foreign cars on such enterprises will make it possible not only to manufacture high-quality cars, but also provide the enterprises' personal with work.

The Moscow authorities have chosen the third variant. It was reflected in Instruction #1127-RP on incorporation of the company (Open Joint-Stock Company "Moscab") for production of cars under the technology of British company "Metrocab (UK) Ltd." issued by the Prime Minister of the Moscow Government on November 25, 1996. Assembling equipment is to be delivered to Tushinskiy Automobile Plant. This enterprise has technologies similar to those used for manufacturing the body of the Metrocab car. The plant also has valuable experience - it had produced "Icarus" buses before.

In the beginning of the implementation of the project the cars should be assembled from imported spare parts and details; in the future production of assembling parts will be carried out on Russian enterprises. Cost of the automobiles assembled from the imported parts will be lower than that of cars bought directly from Metrocab (UK) Ltd. However these cars will be more expensive than cars produced in Russia and their price will be too high for Moscow taxi parks. In this case the most suitable decision of acquiring cars by taxi parks is leasing, which is also stipulated by the Resolution of the Moscow Government. Moscow taxi parks are going to acquire cars through Moscow Leasing Company, which purchases them from the Tushinskiy Plant using loans, issued by foreign banks as well as Moscow budget funds.

The Car

Metrocab (UK) Ltd. is the member of the same group of companies as the world famous Hooper and Company Ltd. Formed in 1807, Hooper and Company has a long and distinguished association with the creation of bespoke vehicles for world leaders. The company has been associated with Rolls Royce and supplied vehicles to UK monarchs. The Metrocabs are produced and assembled at the company's extensive plant at Tamworth, Staffordshire.

Metrocab car is one of the best automobiles ever used as taxi in big cities. Innovative design and engineering ensure that the Metrocab Passenger Compartment can accommodate up to six passengers (it is possible to install the additional 7th seat) in complete comfort and safety. As for the driver, anyone who drives a Metrocab immediately appreciates the comfort and visibility that the vehicle offers. Drivers say that they find their long working day less tiring in a Metrocab, because the multi-position orthopaedic seat is so comfortable and because of the extensive working space and leg rooms. The large glass areas offer superb all round visibility making the Metrocab an extremely safe vehicle to drive.

The Metrocab was the first wheelchair accessible taxi and the needs of people with restricted mobility have played a large part in the development of the Metrocab. Wheelchair access to Metrocab Series II is provided via the kerbside rear door and a telescopic aluminium ramp. The floor is flat and unobstructed, and covered with non-slip surface. An electrically operated restraining belt controlled by the driver secures the wheelchair, and a separate inertia reel seat belt provides further safety for the passenger. Strategically positioned grab handles provide sturdy support when getting in and out of the car.

The Metrocab bodyshell is of rust resistant GRP and reduces the need for remedial bodywork, keeping its "as new" looks for many years. Within the bodyshell is an integral tubular steel structure to give optimum protection to driver and passenger in the event of an accident.

Metrocab Series II is powered by 2.5 litre 76PS direct injection diesel engine produced by Ford Motor Company. This engine was introduced as a result of research which indicates that drivers wanted increased power from their car. Metrocab is an environmentally friendly cab which meets all the strictest emission controls. Metrocab Series II drivers have a choice of Automatic or Manual Transmission. The car features dual circuit hydraulic disc brakes.

Metrocab has one more advantage - cost of owning and operating it is low as compared with cars produced by other manufacturers.

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