The Department will be taking forward demonstration schemes in three local authority areas to research the needs of people with disabilities in order to produce guidance about the most appropriate provision. In the meantime, the Department recognises that some local licensing authorities will want to make progress on enhancing accessible taxi provision and the guidance outlined below constitutes the Department’s advice on how this might be achieved in advance of the comprehensive and dedicated guidance which will arise from the demonstration schemes.
14. Different accessibility considerations https://taxiwaltononthames.co.uk/ apply between taxis and PHVs. Taxis can be hired on the spot, in the street or at a rank, by the customer dealing directly with a driver. PHVs can only be booked through an operator. It is important that a disabled person should be able to hire a taxi on the spot with the minimum delay or inconvenience, and having accessible taxis available helps to make that possible. For PHVs, it may be more appropriate for a local authority to license any type of saloon car, noting that some PHV operators offer accessible vehicles in their fleet. The Department has produced a leaflet on the ergonomic requirements for accessible taxis.
15. The Department is aware that, in some cases, taxi drivers are reluctant to pick up disabled people. This may be because drivers are unsure about how to deal with disabled people, they believe it will take longer for disabled people to get in and out of the taxi and so they may lose other fares, or they are unsure about insurance arrangements if anything goes wrong. It should be remembered that this is no excuse for refusing to pick up disabled people and that the taxi industry has a duty to provide a service to disabled people in the same way as it provides a service to any other passenger.