Compulsory WAV taxi rule in Aberdeen hangs in the balance

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A recommendation to make all taxis in Aberdeen wheelchair accessible by June 2018 has been overruled by licensing committee members, putting the brakes on the proposed rule. But a new consultation is due which could put the plans back on the road.

The council is arguing that the change has to happen to meet legislation but the decision has angered taxi drivers who say the upgrades to their vehicles, which would include equipment such as wheelchair restraints, ramps and transfer solutions, are expensive.

Some drivers also say that some of their elderly passengers or non-wheelchair using disabled people prefer saloon cars because they are easier to enter, according to the Evening Express.

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Edinburgh and Glasgow already have a 100% accessible taxi fleet in place while Dundee, like Aberdeen, has a mixed fleet operation.

Since 2012 Aberdeen has been gradually moving towards a fully accessible taxi fleet and currently, 54% of the fleet is considered wheelchair accessible.

Now, the current policy of wheelchair accessible vehicles will be moved to June 2019.

There is a general push in cities around the UK to convert taxis to make them wheelchair accessible and it is anticipated that the demand for WAVs could increase.

A change in the equality act in April means taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra.

But the law only applies to drivers registered on council lists of wheelchair accessible taxis, known as Section 167 lists.

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