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METAL BADGE NOT ENOUGH: Transport for All advocates use of ‘AUDIO’ taxi licences for TfL complaints

Transport for All (TfA), a leading disability rights organisation, has provided significant feedback to Transport for London (TfL) during a recent consultation focused on enhancing safety for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) passengers.

In a report published by TfL, the key suggestions put forward by TfA highlight the need for additional measures to ensure passenger safety and convenience.

First and foremost, TfA stated that displaying only the licence number inside the taxi is insufficient. They argued that passengers should be able to verify the driver's identification before entering the vehicle. To address this issue, TfA proposed that the licence numbers be prominently displayed on the exterior of the vehicle, such as on the passenger doors or the boot. The organisation suggests with this change, passengers would have the opportunity to note the licence number before stepping into the vehicle, making it easier to report any access refusal incidents and minimising the risk of traveling with unlicensed drivers.

Additionally, TfA emphasised that the current practice of using a metal taxi driver's badge poses challenges for visually impaired passengers. They asserted that alternative provisions, such as an audio version of the licence number, should be made available. TfA suggested incorporating this audio provision alongside existing audio features that provide complaint and safety information, ensuring accessibility for all passengers.

Furthermore, TfA raised concerns about the accessibility of the TfL phoneline for checking whether a taxi driver or vehicle is licensed. They acknowledged that relying solely on this method disadvantages many disabled individuals. To address this, TfA recommended the implementation of multiple avenues for verifying taxi licences. They proposed the development of a webpage similar to the existing PHV licence checker, which should be screen reader compatible, allowing individuals with visual impairments to access and retrieve the necessary information independently.

Black cab drivers currently display their licence badge number on the front and rear windscreens. An additional licensed vehicle number plate is displayed on the boot of the black cab. For PHVs, it is not possible to check the driver details until entering the vehicle via a credit card sized ID usually worn by the driver. Most PHVs do display a green coloured roundel in the widescreen, but the text is small and can only be read close up to the minicab.

31 industry stakeholders responded to the proposals split into three parts put forward by TfL. The capital’s regulator aims to update on Part 1 proposals this Autumn.


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