11 May 2012
Three Aston University graduates have set a world record for completing the longest ever journey by taxi. Paul Archer, Johno Ellison and Leigh Purnell have driven more than 43,000 miles in ‘Hannah’, their 20-year-old black taxi cab – a journey that would have racked up a fare of nearly £80,000.
What started out as a challenge dreamed up during a long and expensive taxi journey home one evening, turned into the ‘It’s on the Meter’ challenge three years later. The challenge would see them drive from London to Sydney in an attempt to beat the world record for the longest taxi journey and raise £20,000 for the British Red Cross in the process.
8,000 litres of diesel, fifty countries and five continents later, the trio are set to arrive back on home soil later today as they make their way to the British Transport Museum in Covent Garden, London.
Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, said: "Aston University is delighted to congratulate Leigh, Paul and Johno for making history. 43,000 miles in a taxi, thousands of pounds raised for the British Red Cross and a Guinness World record is a fantastic hat trick of achievements. The team have put into action one of Aston University’s core values - enterprise and entrepreneurship - and we are very proud of them. On this day in 1502 Columbus began his final voyage of discovery. 510 years later three Aston students have completed an expedition that was just as bold, visionary and dynamic.”
Hannah was purchased for £1,500 on eBay in 2009 and the team spent many hours in engineering labs at Aston University to modify the classic city vehicle (which already had over 100,000 miles on the clock) for the open road. During their trip they faced countless breakdowns, arrests and were even detained by the Iranian Secret Police as suspected spies! Their journey was due to finish in Sydney but securing sponsorship from the Get Taxi app meant they had enough funds to carry on around the world, driving through America and Europe on their return journey to the UK.
The trio is also believed to have set a record for the world's highest taxi journey, having reached Mount Everest's base camp, 5,300m above sea level, in the cab.
The team’s fundraising page can be found at: http://www.justgiving.com/itsonthemeter
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