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News - 3 September 2010

Taxis to become more disabled friendly

A package of proposals to improve taxi services in Brighton & Hove for disabled people will be considered by councillors at a meeting next week (September 10).

The move follows consultation by Brighton & Hove City Council with groups representing disabled people and taxi drivers in the city.

Members of the city council's Licensing Committee will discuss a report containing a range of proposed measures to benefit all passengers, particularly disabled people, at a meeting at Hove Town Hall on Friday September 10.

Proposals include:

  • Raising standards by improving the complaints procedure for any passengers who are not satisfied with the service they have received
  • Increasing the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles available by ensuring that when a hackney carriage licence is transferred (ie when a taxi driver transfers his taxi licence to someone else) the new licence holder drives a wheelchair accessible vehicle. New licences issued would also only be for wheelchair accessible vehicles
  • Installing CCTV cameras in all taxis from April 2011 as a safety measure for all passengers and drivers. (At present taxis can have CCTV, but it is not compulsory. The proposal, if agreed, would mean that from next April CCTV is required as part of all new taxi licences issued, and when existing licences come up for annual renewal during the year. As a result all taxis would have CCTV by April 2012.)
  • Introducing a one-year pilot scheme to enable people to phone the drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis directly to book a vehicle
  • Providing a wider choice of wheelchair accessible vehicles, by allowing the use of rear-loading vehicles
  • Increasing the maximum age limit for wheelchair accessible vehicles from 10 to 12 years, subject to regular vehicle tests, so that they can be on the road for longer

Councillor Denise Cobb, chairman of the Licensing Committee, said, "Most of our taxi drivers are very professional and do a good job across the city, but we are not complacent and we know from feedback - particularly from disabled people - that there is room for improvement.

"We have worked closely with the taxi trade, private hire operators and disabled groups, and taken into account the views of all parties involved in drawing up these proposals."

The review of taxi and private hire services was originally carried out to tie in with new national legislation relating to accessibility of taxis and private hire vehicles. However the change of Government means the timetable has been affected and local authorities are awaiting guidance on any national legislation.

Read related items on:
Brighton & Hove City Council
Cobb, Denise

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