LAVENDER Hill residents can now go green, swopping a minibus taxi trip to the shop or clinic for a Mulo bicycle taxi, hailed as a more sustainable mode of transport.
The Mulo sustainable mobility system, launched yesterday, is run by solar power and human energy.
Professor Mugendi M’Rithaa, from the industrial design department of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said the original Mulo was designed by an Italian student and introduced to South Africa at the 2009 Learning Network on Sustainability.
The first pilot project was aimed at introducing sustainable mobility for disabled and elderly people in suburban areas of the city, and at supplementing public transport.
“This is a unique vehicle,” M’Rithaa said.
The Italian student,
Emanuela Delfino, from the Politecnico di Milano, said at the launch that the pedi-cab was still being fine-tuned.
“Mechanically and technically it’s not perfect, because it’s the prototype,” she said.
“This is its introduction to the community and it has been presented to the City of Cape Town.”
Delfino said other potential scenarios for the Mulo taxis included transporting tourists around the city centre.
A fellow student, Silvia Remotti, said the Mulo could be used to benefit many people in Lavender Hill.
“The youth of the Imfundo Cycle Club in Lavender Hill will have a means to gain income and exercise by driving the vehicle, which will keep them away from negative influences in the community.”
Remotti suggested that elderly, sick and disabled people could also benefit, among others.
“The Mulo is a more sustainable mode of transport.”
The hybrid vehicle is powered by two photovoltaic panels and has batteries and a device for pedalling. It is large enough to take a wheelchair as well as passengers and has a wheelchair ramp.
Lucinda Evans, founder of Philisa Abafazi Bethu, a development programme offering support to women and children who are victims of sexual and domestic violence, said it was exciting to see something positive in the community.