tfl-s-consultation-on-the-minicab-phv-industryTfL is consulting on proposals to regulate the Private Hire Vehicle (PHV / Minicab) industry in London. We are very glad that among their proposals is a plan to make disability equality training a condition of licensing.
But there’s a major omission. At present, only around 5% of minicabs are wheelchair accessible – compared to 100% of the taxi fleet. We think that disabled passengers should have the same choice of ‘Minicab? Or taxi?’ as other passengers. But unless TfL set a target for minicab accessibility, wheelchair users will continue to face longer waits and higher charges to book a cab.
Will you write to TfL and ask them to set a target for more accessible minicabs?
Transport for All is calling on TfL to set a target for 25% of the PHV fleet to be wheelchair accessible by 2018; and to use incentives (such as reduced licence fees for accessible vehicles) to make this happen.
This approach is supported by the London Assembly, London Travelwatch and the Law Commission. It already happens in local authorities in other parts of the UK.
A previous TfL consultation paper, in September, suggested that “
We could also explore a lower licence fee to incentivise the take up of specialist services, such as the provision of wheelchair accessible vehicles
“; but this current TfL consultation only says ‘The private hire trade does not support the imposition of quotas for the provision of accessible vehicles. TfL will continue to work with the trade on delivering on the long term ambition of increasing the availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles.’
We are told that over 4000 responses have been received from taxi and PHV drivers, and so it’s vital that disabled and older people have our say. So do take five minutes to write to TfL and let them know what they need to do to make taxis and PHVs accessible to everyone.
So for wheelchair and scooter users who live in the suburbs of London with fewer black cabs available, there can be very long waits for an accessible minicab; and spontaneous journeys become virtually impossible. At busy times (such as the beginning and end of the school day), wheelchair users may face long waits to get a minicab – or not be able to get an accessible minicab at all.
With the rise of app-based PHV services such as Uber, there’s a real fear that the number of black cabs on the roads may decline, and getting an accessible cab will become a ‘premium service’ that costs more. Having to pay more because you’re disabled is not acceptable!
- Agree? In your consultation response, tell TfL that you think that they should set a target for 25% of PHVs to be accessible by 2018 and take actions to bring this about. Your response will be more powerful if it is personal: perhaps you have experiences or stories of long waits for an accessible minicab, or visiting other cities where there more accessible minicabs are available.
Disability Equality Training
TfL say that ‘all new licence applicants will be expected to undertake [disability awareness] training prior to becoming licensed. Renewal applicants will also be required to undertake this training ahead of the renewal of their licence’
This is good news, but we think it does not go far enough. We would like to see disability equality training made a condition of licensing for ALL drivers, including taxi drivers. A number of local authorities outside London have this policy – it’s time for London to catch up. We are also calling for this training to be face-to-face, rather than through e-learning; and led by disabled people; as our experience is that face-to-face training is much more powerful than online learning.
- Agree? In your consultation response, tell TfL that you think that taxi and PHV drivers should have mandatory disability equality training. Your response will be more powerful if it is personal: perhaps you have experiences or stories of drivers whose behaviour convinced you that they really needed disability equality training!
The consultation closes on Wednesday 23rd December and they are inviting responses to be sent to email@example.com OR posted to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.
There’s more information about the consultation at http://bit.ly/1QtauCs – although most of the proposals do not relate directly to accessibility.