Campaigns

Accessible taxis – why we need them.

At the moment East Renfrewshire is served by a mixture of Public and Private Taxis amounting to around the 500 mark. Out of that number only ONE is wheelchair accessible.

We at East Renfrewshire Disability Action (ERDA) have been calling for a number of years for this situation to be rectified for just some of the reasons given below. Many of our members are being unfairly discriminated against by being refused equal access to public transport as is their right. Here are some of their views on what is the problem with the situation as it stands at present:-

Disabled people use taxis for a variety of reasons, they are sometimes the only form of transport some people have for getting out of the house. They use taxis for getting to work, getting to appointments, socialising, group meetings, etc. and what they don’t need are any extra obstacles put in their way. Many of those who are users of wheelchairs are also reliant on benefits or, if they are working part-time wages/low pay, and so cannot afford the extra costs of having to go out-with the local area for Glasgow/Paisley taxis. Staying stuck in the house leads to other health issues which make a disabled person’s problems even harder to overcome.

 

LF:          Safety issues – need to secure wheelchairs during transit. Unable to make plans for Christmas for when her family come to stay with her as she can’t get the transport to get around. The need to book in advance often inconvenient, many taxi firms will not take bookings. The extra costs of having to order taxis from out-with East Renfrewshire, e.g. Glasgow or Paisley. Many of the drivers are unsure of how to cater for wheelchair users, they do not have the training in disability awareness or health and safety.

VC:         East Renfrewshire’s complete lack of accessible transport and lack of interest in providing any. This lack of transport prevents individuals from getting out – socialising, attending college courses, getting to Drs, Dentists, hospitals etc. or even getting pets to vets. Many wheelchair users resort to using Glasgow/Paisley taxi firms that have to be wheelchair accessible – but this costs extra £15.00 a single journey – many of the people involved are on benefits.

PW:       A member of the SDS Forum who have been in talks with ER Social Work Dept about transport issues. Social Workers have identified transport as a high issue for people with disabilities as group transport (i.e. buses) services are being cut.  She also went on to say that at recent Forum events they have been using the services of Glasgow Taxis for their several wheelchair users for the simple reason they could deliver accessible taxis whereas East Renfrewshire taxis could not. Using the Glasgow taxis did involve a much higher cost than local taxis – £15.00 one way – which is financially disadvantages to wheelchair residents of East Renfrewshire, especially as many of them are on Benefits and can ill afford a total bill of £30.00 or more.

AG:        AG is a permanent wheelchair user and has been for the past 15yrs. He believes that taxi companies/drivers should be treated like any other company and be required to put in a proportion of assessable taxis, just as each company is required to provide disabled parking spaces, toilets, etc.

SB:          SB from Barrhead felt so strongly she wrote us a letter in early June. She had need of a wheelchair accessible taxi but there were none in the Barrhead area so she had to call Paisley taxis. She felt this prevented her from going out; it also prevented others in a similar situation to herself from going out as there were no local affordable taxis. She says she and others have every right to travel in taxis which can get them to places with ease of access in all areas. Again the cost of calling a taxi from out-with the local area was brought up by SB.

Are you or someone in your family affected by this issue?

We would like to hear your views and any suggestions you may have on this issue.

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