Muscular Dystrophy UK has joined MPs and charities in calling for mandatory disability awareness training for licensed taxi drivers and an end to cross-border hiring which puts passengers’ safety at risk.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Taxis, together with Muscular Dystrophy UK, Scope and End Violence Against Women, has sent a joint letter to Transport Minister, John Hayes, urging the Government to introduce a set of national minimum standards for all taxi drivers, including mandatory disability and equality awareness training.
It has also called for a new statutory definition of cross border hiring. Currently, taxi drivers who have been refused a license from one local authority can gain a license from another, and continue to work in the area they’d initially been refused a license from.
Chair of the APPG on Taxis, Wes Streeting MP, said:
The safety of passengers should be the cornerstone of licensing. That’s why we’re calling for a statutory definition on cross border hiring which will effectively stamp out this dangerous practice, alongside national minimum standards so when a passenger gets into a vehicle – wherever they are – they know they are safe.
Nic Bungay, Director of Campaigns, Care and Information at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
We support the APPG’s call for all taxi drivers to have mandatory disability and equality awareness training. It’s crucial that they are sensitive to the needs of disabled taxi users. Taxis are not a luxury for disabled people – they often represent the only way to get from A to B when public transport isn’t accessible.
But sadly, our own research shows a quarter of disabled people have been refused a taxi driver, purely because they are disabled.
Recent changes to the Equality Act mean taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users, or try to charge them extra. But the law only applies to drivers registered on council lists of wheelchair accessible taxis.
If we want to achieve equality for all taxi users, councils must implement these lists now, as the government has recommended.
Muscular Dystrophy UK are writing to the Local Government Association for clarification on how they are working with local authorities to produce lists of wheelchair accessible taxis in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, which makes it unlawful for taxis to refuse or overcharge wheelchair users.
For all media enquiries
Tel: 020 7803 2887
Trailblazers has now moved to pan-disability charity Whizz-Kidz (September 2020).