Things like this stop me from living my life the way I want to


Some 15 years ago we endeavoured to use accessible taxis to transport our adult disabled daughter in her wheelchair. What we found was that many assumed accessible taxis were not accessible for our daughter for in some the door height and/or width were not sufficient to allow access. Even when access was available her wheelchair could not be securely clamped as there was insufficient room to allow the wheelchair to be placed forward or backward faces due to the limited room within the taxis.

She could only be transported with the wheelchair being sideways facing which created an unstable situation, in fact on one journey when the taxis took a right turn to fast the wheelchair tipped backwards and the wheelchair handles crashed into the side window causing it to smash into tiny beads of glass which showered on to her.

Luckily the was no lasting damage or injury to both my daughter and her wheelchair, only to the side window.

Since then we now only use Community Transport.

I am advised that accessible taxis have improved over the years and it is now possible to turn the wheelchairs to be forward or backwards facing and then can be securely clamped. However, I, due to my and my daughters past experiences we have not succumbed to using taxis again and are restricted to the times Community Transport are available in our area.

Scope's Blog

Bal is a post graduate student at Staffordshire University, disability activist, former President of their Student Union and has Generalised Dystomia.

In this blog Bal shares her campaign story to ensure taxi fares charge the same for all and how she helped change the law.

In 2015 I led a campaign to highlight the disgracefully high taxi fares that disabled people often face. It was stunningly successful; the law was changed, and bad practice prosecuted. But since then it appears taxi firms in my home town have blacklisted me.

Since moving out of home and becoming a student, taxi drivers have been a thorn in my side. I soon discovered that I was being charged significantly more for taxi journeys around the city than my non-wheelchair user friends, this moved me to act. I took part in undercover filming with BBC’s Inside Out which highlighted this existing national problem in a…

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Buses could be history sooner than you think – here’s why : The Conversation


In 1890, no one foresaw the rise of the internal combustion engine: horses were the fastest means of transport, and a status symbol. Today, society stands at a similar tipping point. No one can really predict how transport will be used in the coming century, or if people will even need to travel as much as they do today. But some of the most commonly used modes of public transport may be closer to extinction than previously thought.

Buses have been a reliable feature of urban and rural landscapes for more than 200 years. They have helped to define communities; think of London’s red double-decker bus, or the iconic Greyhound bus across the US. And buses have traditionally been a great social leveller: ethnic minority groups fought hard for the right to share the same seats and stops and the poor enjoy the same regulated prices as the middle class.

Yet the end of the bus has already been signalled. In the UK, there has been a reported decline in bus and train usage over recent decades – and it’s not related to the nation’s sluggish economy. Today, only 5% of journeys are made by bus, with 10% by rail, 1% by air, 1% by bicycle and 83% by car or taxi.

 

Source: Buses could be history sooner than you think – here’s why : The Conversation

If you drive a diesel car you could soon have to pay up to £20 a DAY – Daily Record


It is reported that plans for a ‘toxin tax’, after repeated calls for a diesel scrappage scheme, will be unveiled to crack down on air pollution

Source: If you drive a diesel car you could soon have to pay up to £20 a DAY – Daily Record

Peer pressure sees minister finally announce date for taxi access laws | DisabledGo News and Blog


The government has finally announced the date when it will bring into force regulations that will ban taxi drivers from discriminating against wheelchair-users, more than 20 years after they were first included in legislation. From 6 April, taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to accept wheelchair-users, try to charge them extra, or fail to provide them with appropriate assistance. The announcement has been seen as a success for a committee of peers that called for the move last year. Successive Labour, coalition and Conservative governments have refused to bring the measures into force, since they were included in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, and then incorporated into the Equality Act 2010. But the Equality Act 2010 and disability committee, which included several disabled peers among its members, and reported last March on the impact of equality laws on disabled people, called in its report for the measures to be implemented.

Source: Peer pressure sees minister finally announce date for taxi access laws | DisabledGo News and Blog

In Britain, it’s not just the train toilets that disabled people can’t get into | DisabledGo News and Blog


For the majority of us planing an outing is not that difficult, but when a disabled person and especially a disabled person using a wheelchair, this can be a minefield.

you need to double check everything and then you can not be guaranteed that all will go to plan. For all transport needs to be adequately accessible and so do the venues and this includes the toilets. What can be stated as being accessible is many times not correct. This may not be intentional by the transport providers and the venue operators, but mainly through their ignorance of the different aspects of disabilities and the varying requirements.

Even if all are suitably accessible will there be a sufficiency of the numbers available. Bus seating being only one example for there will only be one space available and this could be already taken by standing passengers or passengers with prams, who may be reluctant to move from a disability space and I believe that there is no lawful requirement for them to do so, just respect for the disabled person or persons.

Until there is a lawful requirement to provide full disability access and the educating of the Government, business and the general public there can be no full equality for people who are disabled, for the Equality Act is not sufficient.

 


A few years ago I met friends at a restaurant that had been getting great reviews. I triple-checked that they had wheelchair access (their website made no mention of access) and was assured that they did. Google Street View – I’d checked – showed a mammoth step, but they promised me a ramp. The ramp, as I found when I arrived, was a hastily arranged plank of wood, which they were hoping to shunt me up. Failing that, the chef and waiters would carry me – Cleopatra-style, but without the dignity. “Don’t worry,” the manager said. “The chef is very strong.” Options limited, I reluctantly agreed.

Source: In Britain, it’s not just the train toilets that disabled people can’t get into | DisabledGo News and Blog

My experiences of using taxis and minicabs: the good, the bad and the ugly


This is so true, my own experience is in respect of my adult daughter in Sheffield where we have found that some black hackney cabs, while proporting to be accessible are not. This is due to door widths not sufficient for some wheelchairs, the height of access as sometimes my daughter as had to tilt her head to oneside to gain access. Even when access is obtained safe clamping of wheelchairs is not possible in that they can only be clamped in a side way position, thereby creating unstabability. To be clamped safely you need to be able to face forwards or backwards. When all is OK the fare is usually 1 plus half of the normal fare.

We now have to rely on Community Transport where we have to book a week in advance and there are time restictions, only Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 4.00pm and only 2 journeys per week.

Scope's Blog

The Extra Costs Commission, a year-long independent inquiry into the extra costs faced by disabled people, found that disabled people may often experience a number of challenges when using taxis or private hire vehicles (PHVs), including overcharging, poor attitudes from drivers and an overall lack of accessible vehicles.

In this blog, Kelly Perks-Bevington, a twenty-seven year wheelchair user, tells us about her personal experiences of using taxis and PHVs.

As a business woman and someone with extremely “itchy feet”, I travel a lot!

When I am travelling in London, I am kind of limited in that I do have to use taxis to get around because there are certain tube stations that are still inaccessible. When I’m rushing from meeting to meeting, I find it easier to just Google how long a taxi is going to take and then hop in one. There’s less risk and you don’t have…

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Abused, threatened and left stranded – young campaigners’ transport experiences | DisabledGo News and Blog


By Raya Al Jadir Young disabled people have been abused, threatened and left stranded while using public transport, according to a new report. End Of The Line 2016 follows a nine-month undercover investigation by Trailblazers – a network of 700 young disabled campaigners and their supporters that is run by the charity Muscular Dystrophy UK – and a survey of more than 100 of its members. It comes seven years after a previous report on access to public transport by Trailblazers, and concludes that although “things have improved significantly” there are still “huge strides to be made”, mostly because of a lack of funding and the negative attitudes of transport staff. One disabled passenger was even hospitalised because of a bus’s dangerous design, while others faced abuse and threats from both transport staff and other passengers. The report reveals the “disturbing experiences” of Trailblazers across buses, trains, taxis and London’s tube network, and concludes that their journeys are

Source: Abused, threatened and left stranded – young campaigners’ transport experiences | DisabledGo News and Blog

Equality Act has ‘let down’ disabled people on public transport


Original post from Disabled Go News

‘………………

Gwynneth_Pedler

Some disabled people have been “let down” by the Equality Act when it comes to access to public transport, a disabled campaigner has told members of the House of Lords.aigning organisation Transport for All, told peers that wheelchair-users were often “helpless” in trying to access wheelchair spaces on buses when they find them occupied by pushchairs or non-disabled passengers.

She said that many members of Transport for All had “given up the struggle” and no longer access transport because it was “too great a risk”.

She told the committee examining the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people that she had once been refused access to buses four times in one week because there were pushchairs in the wheelchair space.

Pedler said: “Everyone takes possession of our wheelchair space. That’s the greatest problem. We are helpless to get this put right. It happens all the time.”

She added: “I am talking as a disabled person. I haven’t got fine words for you. I am talking to you as I experience it, along with all the other members in Transport for All.”

Told by Graham Pendlebury, the Department for Transport’s director of local transport, that the bus industry had made progress in providing accessible vehicles, she said: “I don’t argue that these buses are accessible, but if we cannot get on them and we cannot access the pavements because they are too dangerous for us, having access is of little importance to us.

“Progress has certainly slowed – this is the opinion of Transport for All – since the Equality Act.”

The disabled crossbench peer Baroness [Jane] Campbell asked the three-person panel whether it was fair that disabled passengers had to phone up 24 hours in advance when they wanted assistance to use a train.

She said: “This is the blight of disabled people’s lives, that they cannot be spontaneous.”

Pedler said that TFA saw the requirement for disabled people to book assistance 24 hours in advance of a train journey as a “great injustice”, while some companies asked for 48 hours’ notice.

She said: “It stops us from being flexible. We can’t change our mind and go out to lunch with a friend. It takes away our independence and our freedom of choice.”

And she said she had often been unable to board a train even after booking assistance in advance.

Keith Richards, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said having to give notice two days in advance was “not equality”, and that it should be possible to send a text or use a smartphone app just a couple of hours beforehand to alert the relevant rail operator.

Pedler also told the committee that the Liberal Democrat transport minister Norman Baker had promised five years ago that laws on access to taxis, originally included 20 years ago in the Disability Discrimination Act – and later in section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 – would be implemented, but the promise was “taking a very long time to come to fruition”.

Richards said it made “absolute sense” for section 165 to be implemented.

He said: “There are many, many stories that we hear of people who are charged extra, who aren’t assisted or who aren’t even provided with the service because the taxi-driver will see them in advance and drive somewhere else. That is completely unacceptable.”

Pendlebury told the committee there were “a number of reasons” why section 165 had not yet been implemented, and he said it was “under constant review”.

He said: “The concerns were around burdens on drivers and whether this particular provision would actually fully meet the varied needs of different types of disabled people.

“I don’t believe that taxi-drivers or minicab drivers are bad people and threatening them with enforcement and fines – whether that is the right way to bring about a change in procedure.

“I think that government is keen to try to avoid a very heavy-handed implementation and to make sure that enforcement is a last resort.”

But he added: “Clearly we have seen much evidence about how catastrophic it can be for people when they are either mistreated in this way or denied access.”

Baroness Deech, the crossbench peer who chairs the committee, said it had been the “will of parliament” that section 165 should be introduced.

She said: “The burden is now being borne by those people who need those taxis and can’t get them. There can be no questioning of this.”

She added: “I still haven’t heard a decent reason why section 165 should not be brought into effect, so we note that.”

And she asked Pendlebury to ask his minister to write to the committee to explain why section 165 had not yet been implemented and when that would happen.

Baroness Campbell asked Pendlebury to show the committee the research on which the government had based its position that implementing section 165 could be a “burden” on drivers.

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Aden

Hi I’m Aden, I work at DisabledGo as the Digital Marketing Manager and I manage the blog and all social media channels.

More posts from author        ……………….’

Sustainability of Canberra’s wheelchair taxi businesses in question, as seven unused licences go up for auction


Original post from 7 News

‘……….Adrienne Francis

Sean Fitzgerald says the availability of wheelchair friendly taxis has improved in the ACT, but getting a cab can still be hard at peak times.

Sean Fitzgerald says the availability of wheelchair friendly taxis has improved in the ACT, but getting a cab can still be hard at peak times.

Seven of Canberra’s 26 wheelchair accessible taxi licences will go under the hammer next month after falling out of circulation.

But questions have been raised about whether more government support is needed for operators.

Advocates for wheelchair users told the ABC this week that they believed the unused licences were abandoned because the operators were losing money.

And at least one wheelchair taxi operator agrees.

Robert Altamore from People with Disabilities said he believed the unused licences fell out of circulation for business reasons.

“Which is concerning … because if wheelchair taxi operators can’t run their taxis as sustainable businesses, people with disabilities don’t get the service,” he said.

Minister for Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury rejected that suggestion and said the drivers had simply retired or moved overseas.

“There was some hesitation to release them, because we are in the middle of a review of the taxi industry,” Mr Rattenbury said.

But he said the Government was now keen to get more wheelchair taxis on the road and the licences would be auctioned next month.

“I want to release these licences now to make sure we don’t slip behind,” he said.

Still hard to get cabs during peak times: patron

Community advocate Sean Fitzgerald uses a wheelchair and said he was lucky to have his own accessible vehicle.

But he and his support workers still rely on taxis.

Mr Fitzgerald said the service for wheelchair passengers had improved since the Government introduced a centralised booking system two years ago, following years of complaints.

“However it is still a little bit more difficult to get a cab, a wheelchair accessible cab at night on weekends and other low impact times,” he said.

Mr Fitzgerald said next month’s licence auction would be a boost for people with a disability in the ACT.

“It is a great opportunity for the Government to encourage seven new independent operators to come in who are enthusiastic,” he said.

‘I believe there’s no money in it’

But one veteran wheelchair taxi operator, John Tam, said he would not be bidding.

Mr Tam already operates five wheelchair accessible taxis and said it was a struggle to survive.

“I believe there’s no money in it,” Mr Tam said.

Disability advocates want a greater government effort to reduce the high set-up costs for wheelchair taxis, which are three times higher than for conventional taxis.

They said one solution could be interest-free loans.

“It could be done in the form of a subsidy,” Mr Altamore said.

Mr Tam agreed that subsidisation was the only way wheelchair taxis could survive in Canberra.

“It is a mix of policy which has got to come together. At the moment the policy is going to make everybody suffer,” he said.  ………..’


I have no knowledge of the taxi system relating to Australia, let alone the city of Canberra. Here in the UK taxis* are classified as follows:

‘Taxis (or ‘hackney carriages’) are available for immediate hire and can be hailed in the street (known as ‘plying for hire’). Taxis can also accept pre-bookings. Private hire vehicles (PHVs) (sometimes known as ‘minicabs’) must be pre-booked and cannot use taxi ranks. It is illegal for PHVs to ply for hire.*

These statistics are collected through a survey of the 316 licensing authorities in England and Wales (lower tier local authorities, and Transport for London). Survey responses account for over 95% of published totals. Where a figure is not provided, a response to previous surveys is carried forward. In a few cases, authorities report that figures are estimated, or relate to time points other than 31 March. However, these factors are unlikely to have a significant impact on the national and regional level figures.’*

As to wheelchair accessible Taxis* the situation is:

Taxis and minicabs*

Licensed taxis can be hailed on the street, picked up at ranks or pre-booked, but you can only pre-book minicabs (also called ‘private hire vehicles’).

Wheelchair access*

In some areas (mainly larger cities), licensed taxis have to be wheelchair accessible.

To find out if there are accessible taxis near you, contact the taxi licensing office at your local council.

London taxis*

In London, all black cabs are wheelchair accessible.

Some of the newer ‘black cabs’ are also fitted with induction loops and intercoms for hearing aid users.

Assistance dogs*

If you travel with an assistance dog they must be allowed into the taxi or minicab with you, unless the driver has an exemption certificate. This can be issued if they’ve got a medical condition made worse by contact with dogs.

A driver with an exemption certificate will have a yellow ‘Notice of Exemption’ notice on their vehicle windscreen.

It’s illegal to be charged extra to travel in a taxi or minicab with an assistance dog. Otherwise the driver could be fined up to £1,000.

The following types of dog can be taken with you in taxis or minicabs:

  • guide dogs trained by the Guide Dogs organisation
  • hearing dogs trained by Hearing Dogs
  • assistance dogs trained by Dogs for the Disabled, Support Dogs or Canine Partners

Travelling with your dog*

Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers have been told how to identify assistance dogs.

Your assistance dog should wear its harness or identification jacket when you are travelling with it. If an identification card was issued for the dog, this should also be carried.

Dogs should remain on the floor and under control at all times. If your dog causes any damage to the vehicle, the driver could ask you to pay for it.’

However while Taxis are classified as being ‘wheelchair accessible’ this does not means they are accessible for all wheelchairs. They will be accessible for some wheelchairs, but not all. Here I am not referring to motorised wheelchairs, which tend to be larger than manual wheelchairs. But to manual wheelchairs themselves to which there are a number of types. Also to which definition of accessible is being used, is it that both the wheelchair and the person within the wheelchair can gain access to the taxi, or is it greater than that to included that the wheelchair can be anchorded or clamped effectively. To be secure in a Taxi the wheelchair should be positioned so that it is facing either forwards or backwards and then clamped. In many of the UK taxis, especially in my own city of Sheffield it is not posible to turn the wheelchair when it is within the Taxi so that it is facing forwards or backwards, so that it left as it entered the Taxi, here I am assuming the entrance is by a side door and not through the back. If the wheelchair is left like this, then it will never be stable whether clamped or not.

In respect of my own daughter, Taxis have arrived where the doorway is not wide enough and when it is there is not sufficient height for entry to be gained without her having to tilt her head sideways. So we are restricted in the transport she can use, that being we do not use Taxis but have applied to use Community Transport, where we have, in our situation, to plan journeys 1 week in advance. If you are in the UK and have a mobility disability you may also be eligible to use Community Transport in your own area.

 

 

*Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.