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Taxi drivers WARNED to get familiar with new disability legislation dictating when to activate meter

Image credit: LEVC

Taxi drivers are being warned to familiarise themselves with new disability legislation that dictates when the taxi meter is switched on and off.

According to industry sources, some transport authorities are encouraging wheelchair users to ‘record and upload footage of drivers’ who may be unaware of the changes for prosecution.

New laws that arrived this summer have ensured the 13.7 million disabled people in England, Scotland and Wales receive the assistance they need and will not be charged over the odds when using taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).

The new Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022, which came into force on 28 June, is the most significant change to taxi accessibility legislation since the Equality Act was introduced 12 years ago.

The 2022 Act amends the Equality Act 2010 to place duties on taxi drivers and PHV drivers and operators, so any disabled person has specific rights and protections to be transported and receive assistance when using a taxi or PHV without being charged extra.

As part of the amendments, taxi and PHV drivers could face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to provide reasonable mobility assistance to disabled passengers taking a pre-booked vehicle.

This will also ensure that visually impaired passengers will be assisted by drivers to help them identify or find the vehicle. There will also be a duty for local authorities to publicly identify wheelchair-accessible vehicles in their fleets.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), remains concerned that not all cab drivers are aware of the changes.

A small number of complaints have been received where drivers have started the meter when the hail was made, rather than started after the assistance has been provided.

Steve McNamara said in TAXI Newspaper: “The 2022 Act amends the 2010 Equality Act to place duties on taxi drivers and PHV drivers and operators, and to give disabled people specific rights and protections to be transported and receive assistance without, being charged extra. The requirement not to charge a disabled person extra means that a meter should not be activated before, or left running, whilst the driver performs duties required by the Equality Act 2010, which would include helping a passenger into the vehicle, deploying the ramp etc.

“This was also upheld in a now stated case, which confirmed that you must not start the meter until the wheelchair user is in the cab, the wheelchair is secured, the ramps stowed away, and you are ready to start the actual journey. Similarly, the meter must be stopped when you reach your destination, and not left running until the passenger is safely out of the cab and the ramps stowed.

“There are still lots of cabbies, who aren’t aware of this and who believe that the meter is set from the moment you are hired and ended when the passenger has alighted the cab. This practice in relation to disabled passengers and their carers, and specifically wheelchair users, has been ruled as ‘over charging’ by the High Court. TfL now actively consider prosecutions against drivers in these situations, and we understand they are encouraging wheelchair users to record and upload footage of drivers, who do otherwise.

“So far, we have seen only a handful of these complaints against LTDA members, and we have successfully responded to all of them, but they do seem to be on the increase and forewarned is forearmed.”


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