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Less than 1% of London’s PHVs are wheelchair accessible, prompting future accessibility concerns

According to the latest statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT), less than 1% of all Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) in London are wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs).

The low figure has once again raised concerns over future accessibility and inclusivity in the capital as the number of licensed hackney carriage WAV drivers shrinks.

The DfT's statistics showed that in 2023, out of all the licensed vehicles in England, only 13% were wheelchair accessible. This percentage includes both taxis and PHVs. Taxis performed much better in terms of accessibility, with 55% of them being wheelchair accessible. However, the figure for England’s PHVs remained worryingly low at just 2%. These proportions closely mirror the statistics from the previous year, indicating little progress has been made in improving accessibility within the PHV sector.

In London, less than 1% of PHVs were wheelchair accessible, while in the rest of England, this figure slightly increased to 3%. Generally, larger metropolitan areas tended to have a higher proportion of wheelchair accessible taxis, but lower proportions of wheelchair accessible PHVs, exacerbating the transportation inequality faced by disabled individuals.

In London, all 15,100 taxis were found to be wheelchair accessible, in compliance with Transport for London's 'Conditions for Fitness' taxi licensing policy. On a similar positive note, several other large cities such as Birmingham and Manchester exhibited similar inclusivity, with all licensed taxis being wheelchair accessible. 39% of taxis outside of London are registered as being wheelchair accessible.

As PHV numbers continue to boom and taxi numbers decrease, the statistics highlight a pressing need for action to address the lack of wheelchair accessible PHVs in England. For disabled individuals reliant on door-to-door transport, this continued disparity could limit their long-term independence and restrict mobility options.


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