Department for Transport
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Less taxing taxi trips for disabled passengers

Less taxing taxi trips for disabled passengers

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (018) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 2 February 2009

New proposals to improve access to taxis for disabled people have been launched by Transport Minister Paul Clark.

The consultation asks for feedback on improvements that could be made to the design of vehicles and how taxi companies can offer a better service to people with mobility issues.

Transport Minister Paul Clark said;

"I know that taxis are essential for many people with disabilities - helping them to live independent lives, and get more easily from A to B.

"That's why we're launching this consultation - to find ways of ensuring that taxis are available that meet people's needs"

Under the Disability Discrimination Act it is already unlawful for taxi drivers to discriminate against disabled people and they have a responsibility to provide a full service to all passengers. However, this is currently difficult to enforce by law and there is no universal standard for what constitutes an accessible taxi.

The Government has therefore published a public consultation to discuss the most effective way of improving access to taxis for people with a variety of disabilities. It asks for views on;

* improving access to taxis so that people with different types of impairment or disability can receive an equal level of service provision;
* a set standard for accessibility in taxis;
* whether the standard should be issued as guidance or introduced as a regulation;
* exploring issues and options in relation to enforcement, driver training and links with other local transport policies and initiatives;
* improving enforcement.

Notes to Editors

1. The consultation can be found here and closes on 24th April 2009.

2. Following this consultation, we will publish a policy strategy in Summer 2009 that will set out in detail the conclusions of the consultation and the way forward.

3. There are a total of 85,000 taxis in England and Wales. 40,000 of these are accessible, purpose built vehicles; over half of these are in London. There are approximately 140,000 private hire vehicles in the UK, around 45,000 of which are in London.

4. The Disability Discrimination Act (part 3) gives disabled people a "right of access" to goods, services and facilities. Taxi drivers have to take reasonable steps to ensure that disabled people are able to use their vehicles, but they do not have to modify the vehicle itself. Commencing section 36 of DDA will enable improved enforcement of driver duties towards disabled people.

5. The Department for Work and Pensions estimate that there are currently over 10 million disabled people in Britain, 4.6 million of which are over state pension age. 700,000 are children. One in four households has a disabled member.

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