Plans to adapt all of city’s taxis for wheelchair access scrapped

Council leaders have decided to drop plans to force all rank taxis in Aberdeen to be wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Taxis in the city were supposed to be made wheelchair accessible last year under a legal ruling made back in 1994, but opposition from taxi firms and the public saw the decision deferred.

Currently, 46% of Aberdeen’s taxis are wheelchair accessible but a consultation found that only 20% of people are in favour of all the vehicles being made accessible.

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However, there have been threats that a legal challenge could be made if a policy to make the city’s taxis accessible is not implemented.

A report to councillors seen by the Press and Journal stated: “As has been said before, simple preference for a type of vehicle cannot outweigh the authority’s legal responsibilities in terms of the equality legislation.

“There are considerable legal and financial implications involved in adopting a mixed fleet, along with procedural issues that would involve considerable administrative oversight.”

But a union representing many of Aberdeen’s taxi drivers said that the authority could also face legal challenges if it went ahead with the 100% policy as “it would mean some disabled people would struggle to get access to taxis”, according to the newspaper.

The matter will be reviewed again in 2022 and if approved, implemented the following year.

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.

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.

Tags : aberdeentaxiwavwheelchair accesswheelchair accessible
Joe Peskett

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