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What’s pink, green and growing in london?

A 100-plus fleet of London chauffeur-driven cars is going hybrid, as Pink Express takes on Toyota Prius hybrids to help it meet its ambitious environmental targets. The first of the Prius T4 models arrived early this year.

Pink Express branched out into providing passenger car services for corporate customers in 2004, with the introduction of PCO licensing for private-hire cars in the capital. The company also provides eco-friendly local, national and international delivery services, using LPG-powered vans, low-emission motorcycles and bicycles.

Now it is replacing its passenger cars with Toyota Prius as they come up for renewal, in a bid to reduce further its CO2 emissions and energy usage – as well as noise pollution.

“We’re deeply committed to our overall environmental policy,” says Pink Express Sales Director Ray Miles-Kingston. “Many of our clients are the London offices of multi-national companies, and having a cogent environmental approach has become more and more important.

“Our vehicles are stationary or operating at low speeds a lot of the time, and there’s a distinct advantage in using zero-emission cars in such circumstances,” says Mr Miles-Kingston (known affectionately as “Raymondo” to most Pink clients!)

“The drivers like them, and when we did a demonstration for some of our corporate clients recently the feedback was very good. I was impressed when I drove Prius and particularly enjoyed the multi-information display. It certainly is a very different driving experience at low speeds!”

All Pink Express drivers are trained in fuel-efficient and low-impact driving techniques, and have to complete weekly maintenance declarations to minimise fuel consumption and emissions.

Based in Vauxhall, Pink Express also has offices in the West End, Victoria and Colnbrook. Some 80% of its private-hire work is in central London, with the remainder consisting mainly of airport and terminal runs.

The cars, which are supplied on full-maintenance contract hire, cover 50-60,000 miles and are replaced every two years.