Clackmannanshire Council has announced a temporary suspension of its policy that previously mandated all new taxi operator applications to be exclusively for wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Citing "unforeseen and changing circumstances locally", the Council's Regulatory Committee has decided to lift this requirement for a period of six months, or until a quota of 52 active taxi licences is fulfilled.
The decision, effective immediately, opens the door for potential taxi operators to apply for a licence without the necessity of their vehicle being wheelchair accessible. This marks a significant departure from the Council's earlier stance aimed at promoting inclusivity and accessibility within the local taxi service industry.
Interested parties are encouraged to move swiftly, as the allocation of taxi licenses will be determined on a "first come, first served" basis. Applicants keen on securing a taxi plate are advised to reach out directly to the Licensing team for more information and to initiate the application process.
This interim policy adjustment has stirred a mix of reactions from stakeholders within the taxi industry. While some view it as a pragmatic response to local circumstances, others express concern over the temporary rollback of accessibility requirements, fearing it may impact the availability of wheelchair accessible taxis for residents who depend on them.
The Council has yet to disclose the specific circumstances that led to this temporary policy change. However, it emphasises the measure as a stopgap, suggesting a return to the original policy or a reassessment of the situation after the six-month period or once the taxi plate quota is reached.
The Clackmannanshire Council statement read: “Due to unforeseen and changing circumstances locally, the Regulatory Committee has agreed to temporarily suspend the policy to only accept taxi operator applications for wheelchair accessible vehicles.
“This will be for six months, or until a quota of 52 active taxi plates is achieved, and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Anyone with an interest in applying for a plate should contact the Licensing team.”