City taxi association accuses council of failing to extend their fleet to include wheelchair-friendly cabs
Taxi drivers and passengers in Coventry have united in their criticism of the city council claiming that they are discriminating against disabled people.
They accuse city chiefs of failing to extend their fleet to include wheelchair-friendly cabs, saying the current batch of taxis are too small to carry disabled passengers and their wheelchair safely.
Campaigners say that the Department for Transport estimates that as many as 5,300 wheelchair users in Coventry are adversely affected by the current taxi licensing policy.
The council told the Telegraph they are currently reviewing their taxi policy with a final decision expected in the next month or so.
But the Coventry Taxi Association has criticised the council’s delays in making a decision, after they commissioned a study last year by Jacobs Consultants to look in to the issue.
Chairman Tommy Sandhu said: “Taxi drivers want to offer the best possible service to residents and visitors in the city.
“This means disabled people too, but everyone in the business knows that the traditional black cabs just aren’t suitable for many wheelchair users. We’ve been telling the council this for years now but they just seem determined to avoid ever making a meaningful decision.”
His words were echoed by Coventry mum Nicky Ward, whose 14-year-old son Keaton is a wheelchair user, who remains frustrated by the ongoing delay.
She said: “Coping with disability brings a host of additional challenges and expense for families, but Keaton and I still try to live as full a life as possible.
“In theory, taxis should be the ideal way for us to get out and about.
“But unfortunately we can’t fit Keaton and his wheelchair in the existing local cabs, so taxis are off the agenda for us, until the council does something to address this issue.”
The issue had been due to be discussed at a council cabinet meeting last Tuesday but ended up being pulled from the agenda.
Coun Rachel Lancaster, cabinet member for public services, said: “I’m disappointed that we had to pull the report. Unfortunately we have had further legal representation which we need to take time to consider.