The size and weight of some modern wheelchairs is making it difficult for taxi drivers in Dundee to pick up disabled passengers, a body representing cabbies in the city has claimed.
Tony Waters, secretary of the DTA, made the admission after The Courier reported that Dundee mother Linda Duff said she had been ignored when trying to hail a taxi for herself and her disabled daughter Claire, who uses an electric wheelchair to get around.
Mrs Duff and Claire (20) had to make their own way back to their Clepington Street home from the city centre last month after failing to secure a lift, with Linda claiming many simply did not want the hassle of a disabled passenger.
Responding to the article, Mr Waters said the body has conducted investigations into the claims, concluding that some vehicles in the city’s taxi fleet are simply not capable of dealing with modern wheelchairs.
“During our inquiries, one of our members told us that the lady in question has a wheelchair that is too big and too heavy to be safely transported in his type of taxi.
“The problem is because of the size and weight it is not easily turned or safely secured. The driver has tried to turn the electric wheelchair manually and hurt himself in doing so and was off work for seven days.
“The driver has made the cabs officers aware of this and they again iterated that if a wheelchair is too big and cannot be safely secured, it should not be transported.
“If the driver was to take a wheelchair passenger that was not strapped in properly he would be in trouble and breaking the law.”
Mrs Duff has said that the size of Claire’s wheelchair does make access to buses difficult.
Mr Waters added that the sheer bulk of some wheelchairs makes access hard on certain taxis, and fears other disabled passengers may also suffer unless certain kinds of vehicle are requested.
He added, “Unfortunately until there is a vehicle out there that fits all we are going to have these disturbing complaints.
“If the lady in question has been able to travel in a larger taxi she should take note of what type it is and request one from an office or look for one of these vehicles on the rank.
“Our chairman and the driver would be prepared to speak to the lady in question to explain the situation.”