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Actress Madeley apologises to London cabbies for using term ‘taxi’ to describe wheelchair dispute

Actress Madeley has apologised to London cabbies for using the term ‘taxi’, rather than private hire, to describe the type of licensed driver who took her wheelchair from her outside Euston Train Station following a dispute.

Actress Ruth Madeley recounted how the driver took her wheelchair and put it in the boot following a dispute over where she needed to be dropped off at the mainline station.

The Bafta nominee and Years and Years actress said the driver told her the traffic was too heavy and difficult to drop her at her desired accessible entrance.

In her latest messages on social media the actress apologised to cabbies for using the term ‘taxi’ rather than private hire or minicab to describe the incident.

In a thread of posts on Saturday 17 July, Madeley said: “About my recent post regarding a hate incident that happened to me...

“I, like many, use the term "taxi" colloquially (northern bird here!) but I totally appreciate that, in doing so, my post upset a lot of Black Cab drivers who are very proud of their taxi name and service.

“I posted online yesterday clarifying that my whole ordeal was not at the hands of one of London's finest and that it was a private hire company.

“But I wanted to reiterate this. I genuinely had no idea that my post would upset anyone personally and I'm very sorry that it did.

“My intention was to simply share my experience of disability hate crime and highlight the very really issues that many disabled people still face.

“Much love and respect to all the Cabbies who provide a safe and important service to disabled passengers in London.”

The comments follow Madeley’s original post on Instagram recounting a distressing incident experienced last month. She wrote: “Last month, on the same day that our new BBC drama about the fight for Disability Rights was officially announced, I had to report my first disability hate incident.

“A taxi driver refused to drop me off at Euston Station's accessible entrance as the traffic was heavy & it would "take too long" & be "too difficult" for him to drive round.

“He instead insisted that I get out & use the inaccessible entrance, as he had seen me stand & so "knew I could walk". When I told him that I can't manage stairs, he proceeded to tell me that it was MY problem not his. As if this wasn't traumatic enough, he demanded his fare even though the journey had been prepaid. When I tried explaining this on the street, he became very agitated &, in sheer frustration, HE TOOK MY WHEELCHAIR from behind me without warning & carried it away to put in the boot of his taxi, leaving me on the side of the road. When I asked for it back, he refused. Thankfully, I wasn't travelling alone & my mum was able to grab my chair from the driver, although he tried his best to stop her. As a disabled women, I never thought I'd have to deal with a situation like this in 2021.

“For me, taking somebody's wheelchair without consent & effectively holding it to ransom, is criminal behaviour.

“When I called the police, the lady I dealt with was just awful. After telling me that the ordeal was not a hate crime & that no criminal act had taken place, I've since learned that she didn't log the incident properly &, as such, my case was dismissed without me knowing. I was shut down & made to feel as though I was making a fuss over nothing.

“Ultimately, after more fighting & asking for support, the police told me that nothing can be done. No warning to the taxi driver or the firm, no accountability, no consequences.

“This kind of s**t is happening to disabled people EVERY SINGLE DAY & it is clear proof that the fight for disability rights is far from over.”

Transport for London (TfL) are now speaking with the actress to learn more about the incident they described as ‘appalling’.

Graham Robinson, TfL’s General Manager for Taxi and Private Hire, said: “This sounds like an utterly appalling incident. We have contacted Ruth for more details so we can carry out a full and urgent investigation.”


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