During April and May 2011, TfL ran a consultation about changes to the application process for Dial-a-Ride.
Transport for All responded to the consultation. Click here to view our response in full.
TfL have now indicated which changes they will be going ahead with straight away, and which suggestions they will be following up. The most significant change to the application process is that applicants who do not meet the automatic eligibility criteria now have to provide written proof from a healthcare professional of the mobility problems described in the application.
Transport for All are concerned about the cost implications of this to the applicant. GPs sometimes charge as much as £25 to provide written evidence. TfL state they will consider this as they conduct research with new applicants.
Transport for All welcomes the fact that partially sighted as well as blind applicants are now automatically eligible.
TfL will be following up the suggestion that Blue Badge holders be given automatic membership over the next 12 – 18 months.
Application forms will now be viewed by external assessors. TfL say this is a pilot scheme and will be reviewed in approximately 12 weeks time.
Transport for All are skeptical about the use of external assessors. In our response to this consultation we wrote:
“TfA have grave concerns about using independent mobility assessors, given that they have a poor reputation among disabled people for making fair judgements.The fact that TfL state that 13-16% of future applicants will be declined by DAR adds to our concern that assessment will be target-driven, rather than responding to the real needs of disabled and older people. It seems likely that, as has happened in other contracts for assessment of disabled people, the companies place assessors under pressure to meet client’s targets.
“Futhermore, many disabled people say that independent mobility assessors do not have an adequate knowledge of rarer presentations or forms of impairment.
“TfL state that they would apply the same principles to DAR assessments as they do for the Taxicard assessments. TfA have dealt with around twenty complaints in the last year against these Taxicard assessments, and succeeded in getting several decisions overturned. Cases include:
• A gentleman with MS who was refused a Taxicard
• A gentleman with severe autism
• A lady who had an angina attack in the middle of her assessment – and was deemed ineligible.These represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unjust decisions by assessors, as the vast majority of people who are unfairly assessed may not know of our complaints service or do not complain.“
We will be contacting TfL in 12 weeks to review the results of the pilot. In the meantime, we are keen to hear the experiences of anyone applying for Dial-a-Ride within the next three months.
TfL are looking into merging the Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride forms in Redbridge & Barnet, although there is no indicated timescale for this.
London TravelWatch will provide the initial appeals facility.
If you believe your Dial-a-Ride application has been unfairly rejected, contact Transport for All, we can appeal on your behalf.
TfL considered several requests made through the consultation:
- The application form will be available in alternative formats including easy read.
- Dial-a-Ride staff will be able to act as trained volunteers to help applicants fill in forms
- The Financial cost to an applicant of a health professional endorsement will be considered
- Membership cards will not be reintroduced
If you would like to discuss these changes with us, or if you are a new applicant and want to share your experiences, please get in touch with Transport for All.