What do we mean by taxis and PHVs?
Taxis, also known as hackney carriages, are available for immediate hire, can be hailed in the street (‘ply for hire’) or via a taxi rank, and can accept pre-bookings. Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs), also known as minicabs, must be pre-booked and cannot use taxi ranks. Sometimes PHVs are booked through mobile apps, for example Uber or Bolt. On this page and normally in our work, we use ‘taxi’ to refer to both.
Given the extensive barriers to public transport and active travel, as well as the large proportion of disabled people who cannot drive or have no household access to a vehicle, Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) fill a vital gap in disabled people’s mobility options. This is reflected in Government statistics: disabled people with “mobility difficulties” make more than double the number of trips per year than non-disabled people (Department for Transport).
- As of July 2023 13% of all licensed vehicles across England were wheelchair accessible, consisting of 55% of taxis and just 2% of PHVs (Department for Transport)
- The percentage of wheelchair accessible taxis nationally has fallen to 55% from 58% in 2016-17 (House of Commons Library)
- While all taxis in London are wheelchair accessible, in the rest of England outside of London this falls to 39% (Department for Transport)
- Despite it being illegal, almost 63% of Guide Dog handlers said they have been refused access to a taxi or PHV in the past 12 months (from a 2022 survey). 7% said it had happened to them between six and 10 times (Guide Dogs)
- Less than half of licensing authorities require disability awareness training for taxi drivers (Department for Transport)
Our research and work on taxis
Bill seeking to remove barriers to Taxis and PHVs passes
The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) (Disabled Persons) Bill today passed its third reading in the House of Lords, and will now go through final stages before becoming law.
How it feels when Taxis refuse to take my guide dog
Madeline, Transport for All member, blogs about her experience of access refusals when trying to travel by taxi with her Guide Dog.