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May 26

Taxi driver fined for picking up disabled passenger in Carlisle city centre

A furious taxi driver has vowed to appeal against a parking ticket he was issued while picking up a disabled passenger.

A traffic warden issued Jimmy Shankland a £70 parking ticket as he waited for Jack and Jean Hood outside the post office on Scotch Street, Carlisle city centre, just before 11am on Friday.

Although Mr Shankland, 61, told the warden he was waiting for a disabled customer, his appeals made no difference.

“I have never been so angry and I could feel my heart pumping with anger,” said Mr Shankland, “I have never felt anything like it.”

Mr Hood, 88, is the sole carer for his 85-year-old wife, who is blind and has been in a wheelchair for two and a half years because she has difficulty walking.

The couple, who have been married for 63 years, were so upset by the incident they gave Mr Shankland £20 towards the fine.

Mr Hood said: “I thought it was very, very unfair for him. You couldn’t be there long because we came right down. He was just getting the door open.”

Once or twice a week, the couple, who live at Newlaithes Avenue, Morton, Carlisle, get dropped off at Marks & Spencer and picked up outside the post office by taxis so that they can do their shopping.

“I have never had any bother there before and we go there often,” said Mr Hood.

Mr Shankland has driven taxis in Carlisle for 16 years but said he has never known anything like it. He said you might expect such things to happen in London but not in Carlisle.

He said: “In my mind, in my estimation, [the warden] was discriminating against that disabled person.”

Mr Shankland argued that taxi drivers can wait for disabled passengers on double yellow lines and have a duty to their disabled customer to ensure they do not discriminate against them.

He said: “If I hadn’t picked the customer up, I would have been in breach of my licensing badge, then I’d have been discriminating against a wheelchair user. I would have been suspended with no pay.”

Wayne Casey, the chairman of the Carlisle Taxi Drivers’ Association, supported Mr Shankland.

He said: “I think the driver is entitled to wait as long as it takes to get a customer in and out of a vehicle. There’s a bit of a difference between parking and waiting.”

By law, taxi drivers cannot refuse to give disabled people in wheelchairs a lift or charge them extra.

Mr Shankland said he would be appealing against his ticket to Cumbria County Council.

He was issued a parking ticket last month when he nipped into the bakers for a roll but he paid the fine as he admitted it was his fault for parking on double lines.

A spokesman for the county council said: “The council carries out on-street parking enforcement in order to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and prevent inconsiderate parking.

“In this particular case, if Mr Shankland wishes to challenge the ticket, he can do so through the council’s normal appeals process.

“The council investigates every challenge on its own merits and mitigating circumstances will be taken into account. In instances where the council decides there is no case for a ticket to be cancelled, drivers still have the opportunity to make a further appeal to the independent adjudicator at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.”

source: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/

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