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Improving Access to Taxis

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 28 October 2009

The Department for Transport has today published the results from a consultation paper which explored ways of improving access to taxis by disabled people. The analysis summarises the responses to the consultation and has informed the way in which the Department will take this work forward.

The purpose of publishing the results of the consultation is to provide transparency to the Department’s policy and to ensure that it is easily understood. We acknowledge and welcome the input provided by the respondents to the consultation.

The Department will take the opportunity presented by the passage of the Equality Bill to ensure there are regulation making provisions to allow duties to be imposed on drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles designated as accessible by the local authority, to assist wheelchair passengers and carry them in safety and comfort. This largely replicates the duties contained in what was section 36 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which has been carried across into the Equality Bill.

The Department will also be undertaking demonstration schemes in three licensing authority areas, to research the needs of disabled people when using taxis and private hire vehicles, how to tailor the fleet to demand and use patterns and how driver training can assist disabled passengers. The demonstration schemes will provide the basis on which the Department will be able to issue comprehensive guidance to licensing authorities to assist them with improving the availability of taxis and private hire vehicles for disabled passengers.

The Department is also considering the wider legislative framework governing taxis and private hire vehicles to see whether there are any changes which could be made with the objective of enhancing provision for disabled people.

The document summarising consultation responses is available on the Department’s website. Copies have been placed in the House Library.