THANKS to an article written by The Redditch Standard, the borough council have waved through recommendations to make taxis more accessible for disabled people.
Speaking at Tuesday’s Overview and Scrutiny meeting (April 12) Councillor Gay Hopkins (Con, H’less Cross & Oakenshaw) said she’d been very concerned after reading about ‘Sarah’ a disabled woman who was stranded at a supermarket for hours in January because no taxi firm would take her home or demanded at least £10 for the journey.
This led to Coun Tom Baker-Price (Con, H’less Cross & Oakenshaw) submitting a proposal for the committee to carry out one of the fastest reviews the committee had seen.
Coun Hopkins recommended the council change licencing regulations to allow applications for new hackney carriages to be made for vehicles that are less than six years old, meet European M1 safety standards and have facilities for carrying a disabled person in a wheelchair within the vehicle.
She also put forward changes to their training, “We are leading the way in terms of training for taxi drivers in the treatment of disabled passengers but more is need. We would suggest their training is renewed every three years.
“We are not asking for special treatment but that disabled people are treated equally to anybody else.
“One woman, with rheumatoid arthritis said the driver simply popped the boot and she had to get out and take all her cases out herself. This is just not acceptable.”
Stickers were also recommended on all taxis giving phone numbers and cab details so a passenger unhappy with their treatment can complain to the right body. These will cost the council £140 plus VAT for 400 stickers.
Committee members also called for a list stating which firms had wheelchair accessible vehicles, their phone numbers, driver details and availability to make it easier for disabled people to to get around the town.