From this month, wheelchair users in East Dunbartonshire travelling in designated taxis and private hire vehicles will be protected by new rules.
Following a decision by Councillors, all drivers of specially designated taxis and private hire vehicles must adhere to these new procedures:
- They must transport the passenger while in the wheelchair.
- They must not make any additional charge for doing so.
- If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, they must transport the wheelchair.
- They must take the necessary steps to ensure that the passenger travels safely and in reasonable comfort.
- They must give the passenger any mobility assistance that is reasonably required.
Failure to comply with these rules is a criminal offence under the Equality Act 2010.
Joint Council Leader Andrew Polson chaired the Policy & Resources Committee where this decision was made. He said, "This is part of a wider review of how taxis and private hire vehicles operate in East Dunbartonshire and is a positive development. It reinforces current good practice and introduces important new protections for wheelchair users who may use taxi services disproportionally more than other sections of the community."
There is also protection built in for drivers who are unable to adhere to the new guidelines as a consequence of medical grounds. These drivers will be able to apply for an exemption.