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Taxi Dispute Over Not Carrying Disabled Passengers May See Coventry City Council Face Legal Action | Taxi Rank

Hot! Taxi Dispute Over Not Carrying Disabled Passengers May See Coventry City Council Face Legal Action

It has been alleged by disabled individuals that black cabs in Coventry are not stopping for them and as a result, the City Council could be taken to court. Cab drivers have hit back by saying that large electric wheelchairs do not fit into their taxis and that the council is not allowing them to switch some of their taxis to larger vans which could accommodate the passengers.

In their opinion, the council is doing this because they are protecting the jobs of LTI, a taxi manufacturer in Holyhead Road. Switching taxis would involve using foreign cabs which would hurt LTI’s business. Drivers suggest that the council could be on the receiving end of legal action if they can’t choose their own specially adapted vehicle.

A number of wheelchair users have contacted the media in order to explain the difficulties they face when trying to get home. Josh Sapey, a college student with cerebral palsy, said that able-bodied people are picked up by taxis while disabled individuals are left on the side of the road. He stated that a cab once drove off while he was trying to open the door.

Stephanie Holt is another cerebral palsy sufferer living in Coventry and she spoke of the fact that drivers ignore her as she sits in her electric wheelchair seeking to get home. According to Councillor Richard Sandy, late night driving is not an option for wheelchair users who have no other option barring taxis since there are no late buses. As a result, individuals in wheelchairs are hindered in their attempt to lead an independent lifestyle. He says that taxis who have the capacity to pick up wheelchair users but fail to do so should be reported to the council and punished.

According to the chairman of the Coventry Taxi Association, Imran Zaman, black cabs built by LTI can only fit small electric wheelchairs or traditional ones though he agreed that drivers who fail to pick up disabled passengers should be punished. He stated that large electric wheelchairs only fit in the cab sideways which is against health and safety regulations.

Zaman claimed that drivers have been asking the council for new taxis for years but are thwarted by a 125 year old rule which says that taxis must have a turning circle of 25 feet. As a result, specially adapted taxis can’t be used as they don’t meet the criteria. He concluded by saying that the council want to protect the black cab as a iconic vehicle built in Coventry to serve the people of the city which is why they won’t use new cabs.

According to Bill Parish of Allied Vehicles, the company that supplies adapted vehicles, the company have previously won a legal challenge against Liverpool Council for the right to provide cabs for disabled passengers. He said that they wanted to avoid a court case in Coventry but would consider it if the council does not change its stance. He pointed out that such vehicles are already on the streets of Liverpool and Birmingham.

According to a spokesman for the council, Councillor Lindsley Harvard was deeply considering the matter. LTI came out with their own statement which stated that the city of Coventry’s licensing standards are among the best in the UK for taxis. They also claim that all their taxis fit wheelchairs set to special measurements which are used on other forms of public transport such as buses and trains. LTI state that their taxis provide the standard space for wheelchair users as is recognised by the rules and regulations of public transport.

Source: coventrytelegraph.co.uk

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