Sounds great but could this law actually be toothless? For a start it only applies to vehicles that are designated as wheelchair accessible and will apply to both taxis and private hire vehicles.
It’s a change in the law and drivers found to be discriminating against wheelchair users face fines up to £1,000 as part of the provisions being enacted from the Equality Act. Drivers may also face having their taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) licence suspended or revoked by their licencing authority. Drivers unable to provide assistance because of medical reasons will be able to apply to their licencing authority for an exemption from the new requirements.
The Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said, “We want to build a country that works for everyone, and a part of that is ensuring disabled people have the same access to services as anyone else – including when it comes to travel. People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all.
BUT WILL IT?
For instance, the law does not require Local Authorities to maintain a designated list of wheelchair accessible Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles. Recent ‘freedom of information requests’ show only 41% of licencing authorities have a list or plan to create one and that 26% of authorities have decided not to work towards such a list, at the moment.
The actual law states that Taxis and Private Hire Vehicle drivers will be obliged by law to: *Transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair, *Provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropriate assistance and *Charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users.