A Labour MP has asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is being done to increase the number of wheelchair accessible Private Hire Vehicles (PHV) in Newcastle.
Chi Onwurah, the Labour Member of Parliament for Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central, sought clarification from the Secretary of State for Transport via a parliamentary written question.
In response, Guy Opperman, a Minister for the Department for Transport (DfT), emphasised the crucial role played by local licensing authorities in ensuring that disabled individuals have sufficient access to taxi and PHV services. Opperman highlighted the consultations conducted in 2022, which focused on updating best practice guidelines and recommending that authorities utilise their existing powers to license mixed fleets of taxis and PHVs that include an adequate number of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to meet the demand of passengers who rely on such services.
Opperman MP said: “Local licensing authorities have an important role to play in ensuring disabled people can access the taxi and private hire vehicle services that they rely upon.
“In 2022 we consulted on updated best practice guidance, including recommending that authorities use their existing powers to licence mixed fleets of taxis and PHVs incorporating sufficient wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) to satisfy the demand from passengers who rely upon them. The substantive guidance will be published later this year.
“We also supported the passage of the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022, which introduced important protections for disable passengers when using taxis and PHVs.”