Black taxi wheelchair assessments for new electric black cabs could arrive once new government licensing guidelines are confirmed and implemented says Mayor of London.
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.
There are now concerns that many 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.
London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon asked the Mayor of London: "How many taxi drivers who have purchased or rented the new electric taxi have been trained to secure a wheelchair passenger subject to any DVLA test in the last 3 years? What plans do you have to roll out this training?”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Historically, these assessments were conducted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
“As part of the final stage of licensing, taxi drivers are informed of their responsibilities under the Equality Act on the grant of their license. Transport for London (TfL) also provides specific guidance to existing licensees on its website (www.tfl.gov.uk/tph-access) and further guidance on supporting passengers who are wheelchair users or who have an assistance dog is granted to newly licensed taxi drivers.
“New taxi driver licences are issued subject to the driver to passing a driving assessment (including an accessibility element) at a later date.
“TfL is prioritising the implementation of the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) Statutory Standards for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing, all of which seek to make services safer for passengers.
“Once these standards have been introduced, and subject to the anticipated DfT Best Practice Guidance, TfL will revisit taxi driver assessments.”