Around 2,500 London black cab drivers have not been assessed on their ability to use wheelchair facilities offered in taxis, confirms Mayor of London.
Black taxi wheelchair assessments for new electric black cabs could be reinstated once new government licensing guidelines are confirmed and implemented.
There are some concerns that taxi drivers are not fully trained to properly secure a wheelchair in the more complicated LEVC TX and Nissan Dynamo taxis.
Transport for London (TfL) have awaited the long-running implementation of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) Statutory Standards and Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing, before looking at revisiting a whole host of driver assessments.
Wheelchair Assessment Tests were previously undertaken by an authorised DVLA assessment centre to ensure that drivers met the required legal safety standard when loading and securing wheelchair passengers.
Around 14 percent of taxi drivers licensed in the capital have never been assessed since the tests were scrapped. The expectations of new cabbies are however relayed verbally and in writing once they reach the required standard studying on the ‘Knowledge of London’.
London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor of London to provide the number of taxi drivers who have passed a wheelchair assessment test or a driving assessment.
The Mayor of London responded: “Following the withdrawal of the assessments by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), new taxi driver licences are currently issued subject to the driver passing a driving assessment (including an accessibility element) at a later date.
“Since then, 2,636 taxi driver licences have been issued which is approximately 14 per cent of all licensed taxi drivers.
“In each case the new taxi driver is informed of their responsibilities under the Equality Act in person when they receive their ‘badge’ and written material is provided with licensing documentation.
“Transport for London also provides specific guidance to existing licensees on its website and further guidance on supporting passengers who are wheelchair users or who have an assistance dog.”