A taxi driver in Coventry has been stripped of his licence after twice failing to secure a wheelchair passenger in correctly. The local licensing authority, Coventry City Council, withdrew the cabbies licence after findings showed the driver failed to use the restraining straps required to secure the wheelchair whilst in transit.
Full details of the two complaints were heard by the local Licensing and Regulatory Committee who took the bold decision to revoke the driver’s taxi licence. Members of the committee stressed that the cabbie tried to pass on responsibility to the disabled passenger, claiming that they had requested for the straps not to be used.
The decision to take away the drivers livelihood comes as a stern warning to other drivers to not make the same mistake.
Andrew Walster from Coventry City Council said:
“Members are unanimous that the Council wants to ensure that all taxis operating in our city are accessible to all members of the public and that they are carried in a safe and proper manner. “There are further enforcement operations planned in the future to ensure compliance by all our taxi operators. “It would be clear discrimination should taxi operators decline to take wheelchair users based upon their disability. If reports of any refusals are received then the driver leaves themselves open to a licence review.”
This decision has caused some concern not only in Coventry, but across the UK. Many cabbies do as requested by their paying customer whether they have a disability or not. If a customer chooses not to wear a safety belt it is ultimately their decision and not many drivers will get in the back to clip all uncooperative passengers in.
So like the grey area surrounding bilking right now, who is responsible for the actions of the customer? Can drivers lose their livelihoods for customers choosing to make their own choices?
If councils are trying to persuade taxi drivers to improve its wheelchair user coverage this strong and harsh action isn’t the answer. This will no doubt deter drivers away from jobs flagged as wheelchair users, especially on account, as the risk of a complaint could mean an end to your career.