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ACCESS FALLING: Mayor of London responds to Government’s call for more accessible taxis and PHVs


Image credit: LEVC

The Mayor of London remains ‘proud’ of the capital’s wheelchair accessible taxi and private hire vehicle options despite large drop in accessible vehicles.


London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon recently raised a written question to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, regarding the Government's call for councils to increase the accessibility of taxis and private hire vehicles. This query follows the publication of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Best Practice Guidance in November 2023, which aims to improve taxi and private hire licensing.

In response, Mayor Khan acknowledged the DfT's recommendations and confirmed that Transport for London (TfL) is currently reviewing these guidelines. TfL will consider whether changes are necessary to the current licensing arrangements to enhance the accessibility of these services.


Mayor Khan highlighted that London’s taxi fleet, consisting of 14,700 vehicles, is already fully accessible. In addition to taxis, over 400 private hire vehicles in London are also designated as WAVs. However, according to TfL's latest figures, the number of wheelchair accessible taxis has decreased from 21,026 vehicles in April 2018 to 14,743 in January 2024.


The report also reveals that out of the 91,940 private hire vehicle licences issued by TfL, less than 0.5% are wheelchair accessible. This statistic underscores the potential gap in accessibility for disabled passengers using private hire vehicles in London.

The Mayor's response alongside TfL data brings to light the ongoing efforts and challenges in making London's taxi and private hire vehicle services more accessible for all users. The DfT's Best Practice Guidance serves as a catalyst for further examination and potential improvement in the accessibility of these vital transportation services whether that be road network restrictions, enticing more taxi drivers into the industry or help funding expensive black cabs.


Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “I am aware that the DfT’s Best Practice Guidance includes a number of recommendations around the accessibility of taxi and private hire vehicles, and I am very proud that London’s entire fleet of 14,700 taxis are already fully accessible.   


“These purpose-built vehicles are designated wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV) and have a range of additional accessibility features including, but not limited to, a large interior passenger compartment, a doorway not less than 1.2 metres high, swivel seat, visible grab handles at the door, intermediate steps, colour contrasting sight patches on all passenger seats, hearing induction loops and a wheelchair ramp.  


“In addition, over 400 private hire vehicles are designated WAVs.“ 

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