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Travelling by Taxi as a Disabled Person

By: Jonathan Webb - Updated: 3 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Transport Taxi Disabled Wheelchair Black

For many disabled people who are unable to drive or use public transport, such as buses and trains, the use of taxis and private hire vehicles is essential in enabling them to get around. Both taxis and private hire vehicles are able to be booked in advance for a door-to-door booking, but only a licensed taxi can be hailed in the street or can pick up from a taxi rank.

Travelling By Taxi For Wheelchair Users

In London, along with some other large cities, all licensed taxis (black cabs) are accessible to wheelchair users. These vehicles use a convenient fold down ramp that allows a dignified entrance into the vehicle by wheelchair users. Private hire vehicles, which usually consist of a family saloon car, are generally not wheelchair user accessible unless you are able to get out of your wheelchair and sit in the car. Your wheelchair can be carried in the car boot.

There are some private hire companies that have 'people mover' vehicles in their fleet which are often able to carry wheelchair users. To discover if your area has wheelchair accessible taxis contact the local licensing officer at your local council.

It is important that you never travel sideways in a taxi and that the brake of the wheelchair has been applied. Failure to do so could result in serious injury if the taxi has to brake sharply or is involved in an accident. If your wheelchair is of the powered variety make sure that the power unit has been switched off and the wheelchair is not in freewheel mode.

Using a wheelchair accessible taxi is an obvious choice for wheelchair users, but if you have difficulty climbing steps or holding handrails it may be preferable to ride in a saloon vehicle .The modern black cabs do, however, have an additional step combined with a swivel seat that enables you to sit down before swinging yourself around in the vehicle. They also have easy release interior door handles for passengers who lack dexterity in their hands

Travelling By Taxi For The Blind And Visually Impaired

If you are blind or visually impaired it is possible to obtain a TAXI sign to assist you in hailing a taxi in the street. These signs are available from the Royal National Institute for the Blind. Inside most black cabs there are grab handles of contrasting colours making them easier to locate for those passengers who are visually impaired.

It is a legal requirement that both taxis and private hire vehicles carry assistance dogs and the dogs must be allowed to stay with their owners and be carried at no extra charge. Drivers can identify these dogs by their harness or jacket. Some drivers, who suffer from proven medical conditions, such as asthma, which may be aggravated by dogs are issued with an notice of exemption by the licensing authority. The notice of exemption must be displayed on the windscreen or dashboard of the vehicle and will have a large ED(for exemption dogs)printed on it

For taxi passengers who are hearing impaired some of the newer black cabs have induction loops fitted

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I work in London for the biggest black taxi company in the city. We run the Taxicard Scheme on behalf of the government, and also have the contract for Dial a Ride all needing Wheel Chair accessible taxis. All black cabs in London must have W/C access, however they only need to have access to standard W/C's this is so as mentioned they can be secured correctly to satisfy the public liability insurance needs. The reason they cannot take scooters is simply because they have no standard securing anchors so have no way to stop it moving in the case of a crash. Although it may be very heavy and wont move in everyday situations, in the case of a bad crash it could end up any where. (Including the drivers cabin) I know it is frustrating as my mother is a scooter user and I have seen both sides but she has a standard W/C and must get help when she needs to specifically use a taxi. What is needed is some sort of standard for fixing anchors in all mobility vehicles.
Phayze - 3-Oct-17 @ 3:47 AM
Hi I have a wheelchair accesable car for my powerchair and I have four restraints for it but i was going to buy a large mobility scooter one of the biggest you can get called a king cobra the man who sells them said you only need to drive it on and that's itno restraints needed and he said he could take the clamps off if I wanted can you tell me if it is ok to drive with it not secured plus it's a very heavy scooter thanks.
Gaza - 16-Jun-17 @ 2:21 PM
Being a disabled person myself and relying on use of electric scooter I'm noticing from forums /sites ive been on is that if your in an electric scooter/electric wheelchair user your buggered if you want a taxi to get from a-b. I have been to Florida a few times and never have a problem getting a taxi where I drive in on my electric scooter and stay seated on my scooter and both my scooter and me strapped in safely. Is this service available in the uk or do we as a nation still live in the stone age regarding disabled access on private transport. Perhaps there may be a legal reason. I'm keen to see if I can get some response to this to enlighten me. Perhaps there is a business venture for people up and down the uk. I value your thoughts and response.
dean - 26-Apr-17 @ 11:49 AM
Hi, this it not the first time I have been refused the service of a taxi. I am a full time wheelchair user (powered) and the other day after coming back by train from Edinburgh (6.5 hours with an 8 year old and 2 small cases) we had missed the local bus I normally use so we went over to the taxi rank by our local train station (Wokingham). Not one of the 5 taxis which had the disabled signage would take me. So frustrating. I know I didn't help myself by not taking down details but I was tired after a long journey and just wanted to get me and my daughter home. Hope this change will help my local authority change things because at the moment local taxis firms are useless in my local town. I just want to add that I do not have any problems with my local buses or train companies and appreciated the assistance they give me.
M - 9-Apr-17 @ 2:42 PM
Hi, can an ordinary size London Black cab fit a wheelchair-user and 2 other passengers, with the wheelchair strapped in (with wheelchair-user facing towards back)? Parents and sister have now taken 2 journeys where driver parked wheelchair-user side-on and relying solely on wheelchair brakes. Uncomfortable for Mum as her head was bobbing about from side to side and potentially unsafe I would have thought. Asking as they also didn't get dropped where they wanted as drivers wanted high kerbs to drop ramp on rather than getting out ramp extension which I believe they're meant to carry.
Mitch - 24-Jan-17 @ 8:16 PM
Hi I live in London. I have a friend visiting me who uses a Storm X wheelchair. Can you tell me if these fit into a standard london cab. Thanks Andy
Andy - 13-Dec-16 @ 8:04 PM
Sam - Your Question:
I am a wheelchair user Can taxi drivers charge you more because you are a wheelchair chair users

Our Response:
The law preventing taxi and private hire vehicles from charging wheelchair users extra has unfortunately, never been brought into force i.e guidance from Transport for London forbids taxi and PHV drivers from charging wheelchair users extra for assistance, although unfortunately not all minicab and taxi drivers abide by this, please see link here.
DisabledTravelAdvice - 30-Nov-16 @ 11:30 AM
I am a wheelchair user Can taxi drivers charge you morebecause you are a wheelchair chair users
Sam - 29-Nov-16 @ 4:51 PM
Mr wife uses a wheelchair. We live near the center of a conurbation of about 300,000 people. If we "pre-book" a taxi they fail to turn up presumambly because the control center cannot persuade a driver to pick up a wheelchair passenger. If we go to a taxi rank the drivers of wheelchair accessible cabs refuse us on the grounds the driver has medical exemptions. The cab licensing authority do not enforce the anti-discrimination laws. Any advise?
Mr Angry - 24-Oct-16 @ 12:38 PM
HI DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT MAKES OF MOBILITY SCOOTER CAN BE USED ON THE RING AND RIDE AND TRAM.THE SCOOTER HAS TO HAVE ANCHOR POINTS ON IT SO IT CAN BE TIED DOWN OR A SCOOTER THAT HAS BEEN CRASH TESTED. IM THINKING OF BUYING A SCOOTER AND ITS IMPORTANT ITS A SCOOTER THAT IS ABLE TO GO IN THE BOOT OF A CAR.I WOULD REALY APPRECIATE ANY ADVICE. THANK YOU
JUNE - 29-Sep-16 @ 1:09 PM
Hi I'm trying to find a taxi company that will fit my nans mobility scooter in for my nan. I live in Derby can any one help thank you
Penny - 25-Jul-16 @ 11:48 AM
I am disabled & have used wav's ,scooters & power chairs in my own vehicles. I have now stopped driving & made some enquiries today with local taxi companies about using their wheelchair accessible vehicles with my power chair, but they don't seem to know anything about crash tested chairs & have never heard of them , but have been transporting people sitting in their normal chairs .This is not acceptable & they should be made aware of what the law says on this subject . Wheelchair manufacturers should crash test all their power chairs then there will be no confusion .
Cobber - 10-Jun-16 @ 12:44 PM
James - Your Question:
Hi everyone, I drive a black cab in Chester and just thought I would clear a few things up for you.All Hackney cabs are wheelchair accessible.It is perfectly legal to travel in a cab in a wheelchair on your own.The wheelchair has to be anchored to the cab and the passenger must be strapped in with a specially adapted seatbelt(supplied in all black (hackney) cabs.If you require extra room for other passengers or very large wheelchairs, ask for a Euro Cab at the booking stage.The problem with travelling in a mobility scooter is that most cab insurance companies will not insure the driver to carry passengers who wish to remain seated in the scooter as they cannot be properly secured.

Our Response:
Many thanks for your comments, they are very useful to know.
DisabledTravelAdvice - 31-Mar-16 @ 3:28 PM
Hi everyone, I drive a black cab in Chester and just thought I would clear a few things up for you. All Hackney cabs are wheelchair accessible. It is perfectly legal to travel in a cab in a wheelchair on your own.The wheelchair has to be anchored to the cab and the passenger must be strapped in with a specially adapted seatbelt(supplied in all black (hackney) cabs. If you require extra room for other passengers or very large wheelchairs, ask for a Euro Cab at the booking stage. The problem with travelling in a mobility scooter is that most cab insurance companies will not insure the driver to carry passengers who wish to remain seated in the scooter as they cannot be properly secured.
James - 31-Mar-16 @ 8:47 AM
My wife has been using the taxicard scheme but trying to book a cab tonight she has been told she can no longer take her mobility scooter in the cab. She can not use a wheelchair as she only has the use of her right hand. There is nobody to travel with her and I will be at work meaning she can no loger go out unaided. Why, all of a sudden are they not permitting this? This is deeply upsetting as she feels she has lost her independence.
Foxy - 29-Jan-16 @ 9:37 PM
My 84 mother has also been told that she can no longer take a taxi with her mobility scooter. Absolutely devastating for her as she can't walk more than a few yards and her scooter plus being able to go in a taxi has meant she is fairly independent. Does anyone know why???
lyn - 24-Jan-16 @ 11:11 AM
I am a disabled person. I have a mobility scooter. I have been told by black cab service its illegal to put my mobility scooter in bk of cab. I lost my husband a few months ago. If l went out he always put scooter in boot of car. I have used black cab service to take me bk wards and forwards to hospitalwhen he was seriously ill with scooter in bk. Since my husband passed l have used cabs a couple times. Always put fare up from a 5a to 7.50. I wanted to use the cab last week to bectold it is now illegal to take my scooter.
None - 31-Oct-15 @ 10:16 AM
As it ever got sorted about taxis charging extra to take a wheelchair. Some places/firms do others don't. The practice needs sorting out so we know where we stand.
wojciech - 15-Jul-15 @ 3:31 AM
We're travelling to London next month as a family of three - one of us uses a wheelchair - when using a black cab which I understand is readily accessible for wheelchairs, is there sufficient space for the other two family members?
penny - 23-Sep-14 @ 11:58 AM
@don't have one, you can ring any taxi firm and book a cab for a certain time and day and ask for a wheelchair accessible one.
ron - 17-Sep-14 @ 12:00 PM
Yes but how can I get a black cab for my father who lives in a care home in north London? We can't go out and hail one as they do not pass our way. Is there any way I can book one for a particular day and time?
Don't have one - 17-Sep-14 @ 11:44 AM
Is it there any law that a wheelchair users can not travel in a taxi unaccompanied?
ADS - 30-Jul-12 @ 7:21 AM
My dad is 88. He can just about walk, but he finds it difficult getting into small cars and London black cabs (which are in fact quite badly designed for easy getting in and out). Are there any taxi companies with easy access cabs?
Nick - 8-Mar-12 @ 4:36 PM
Hi, my brother has Soto's syndrome(gigantism) and struggles a great deal with travelling to my house in Norwich. He would be travelling from Manchester but my Dad also suffers with Panic attacks and the fact that my brother is some 25 stone adds more of a burden to my dads attacks. They refuse to travel and they don't drive and they are on low income, my questions is this: Is there any help with travel, i.e would there be a holiday grant fund to ease the cost on my brother and parents to travel that sort of distance say maybe in a taxi or larger vehicle? Any advise would be of great help, as my mother and father and brother feel almost like prisoners in their own county. Best Regards
B - 20-May-11 @ 11:18 AM
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