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UK publishes new guidance on taxi wheelchair accessibility

A taxi driver helps a person with a wheelchair get in a taxi, taxi
Photo: Askolds Berovskis

The DPTAC published its position on the accessibility of taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs), highlighting the importance of taxis for persons with disabilities both in urban and rural communities in UK.

The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC)  works with the Department for Transport (DfT), providing advice to the Government on the transport needs of disabled people.

“Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are one of the most popular modes of transport for people with disabilities after the private motor car. People with disabilities use taxis more than non-disabled people despite more of them living in relative poverty. Taxis and PHVsprovide a door-to-door service, with scope for individual assistance with the particular needs of a disabled passenger.” according to the new guidance released this month.

They are also one of the services most complained about by disabled people, with regular reports of drivers refusing to carry passengers or provide the assistance needed.

The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) believes that taxi and PHV services should be fully accessible to disabled travellers, and this statement sets out our proposed framework for achieving such a service.

A universal service also requires a vehicle which is fully accessible to all disabled people. The Equality Act 2010 includes powers to introduce regulations to set specifications for such a vehicle. However, these powers have never been used. Attempts to draft regulations have demonstrated that compliance would need a bespoke vehicle, and the size of the market for such a vehicle would not justify the investment needed to develop manufacturing capacity.

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